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1931-1939 FASHIONS 



STYLES, 1939 to 19 U5 (WORLD WAR II) 




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a - Analysis of the present fashion 

b - Effect on Personality 

c - Main characteristic of Costume 

a - Measurement of Figure 

b - Types of Figure and Main Factors Involved in 
relation to Personality 

c - Sketching the Modal 

a - Line and Design 

b - Harmony, Balance and Sequence in good dressing 

c - Attraction; Vertical, Horizontal, or Oblique lines 

a - Meaning of Fashion 

b - Meaning of Style 

o - Main points of up-to-date fashions 

d - Textiles 

a - Tones in Vogue 

b - Influence of Color on Personality 
c - Study of Blonde and Brunette 
d - Psychology of Color 
e - Origin of New Tones 

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a - Morning, Afternoon, and Evening Dress 

b - Accessories in Relation to Line and Color of Dress 

c - Procedure in Original Costuae Designing 











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GOD in His infinite wisdom and kindness has chosen woman to be 
the masterpiece of His creation* 

Woman* s body surpasses everything in the world in beauty, charm 
and grace* A man once said, "There is no such thing as a homely woman*" 
Recently (February 1953), the well-known designer, CHRISTIAN DIOR, expressed 
the same statement - the manner of dress makes the difference* 

Through the years of civilization since Antiquity - especially 
since the emancipation of women - the feminine figure of fashion has changed 
contours considerably from time to time, and always with a marked deviation 
of silhouette* The natural feminine figure, however, remains practically 
the same as it was when women covered themselves with draperies and folds 
of material as Greek and Roman ladies did with such perfect artistic effect* 

Of course, drastic changes of the silhouette have occurred 
constantly since the lUth Century when women discovered the beauty of the 
waist line and the corset was invented, but whatever the reason may be for 
the bosom to be hidden or pushed upward, or for raising the waistline, or 
lowering it, the fashionable silhouette is quite a different matter from 
that of the feminine body which should be drawn with as little clothing as 
possible (simply attired or nude, as it is practised in the Fine Art 
Classes) emphasizing every line and curve* 

The main factor in acquiring ability to draw the figure for 


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fashion composition lies in the practice of rapid sketching from the model 
in various artistic positions. The standing, rather stiff figure, which 
is drawn from measurements, is used a great deal for the purpose of dress- 
ing the figure, but it is quite useless to entertain the false assumption 
that a well designed frock can possibly look as well on a lay figure as it 
would on the model posing in a graceful position. After all, art is based 
on certain laws, and the interpretation of these depends largely on the 
artist himself. In the field of fashion designing, one must search 
artistic and graceful positions for the living model on whom the stylish 
gown will be designed. 

Many designers in Paris and in New York ask their patron or 
customer to walk around the room and to sit down occasionally before they 
attempt to create suitable and artistic clothes for Milady* 

It is a great help to the student that the modem trend of 
fashion drawing tends to eliminate such unnecessary details as a finished 
drawing of feet, hands, or even features. In the drawing of a graceful 
figure with an up-to-date gown, a lovely head may possibly enhance the 
charm of the sketch, but a portrait is not indispensable to an artistic 
fashion design, the aim of the sketch being to show off the gown as the 
center of interest. 

Measuring with your eye (generally the right one) is a compar- 
atively easy habit to acquire, once the student has memorized the propor- 
tions of the human figure according to the Greek measurements, and with 
patience and practice, the future costume designer will be drawing the 
stylish figure quickly and accurately. 


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In fashion magazines and newspaper illustrations, as In sketching 
from a model, the head is the unit of measurement. Proportions are, there- 
fore, approximately as follows: 

Lengths: The full length of the stylish figure is eight times 
that of the head, except when sketching from life, in which case it is 
about seven and one-half heads. One head and one-half to the shoulder, 
two heads and two-thirds to the natural waistline, three heads and three- 
quarters to the hip line, five heads and nine-sixteenths to the top of the 
knee, seven heads to the ankle* 

The elbow comes to the waistline. The forearm for the female is 
shorter than the upper arm. 

The width of shoulders is one and one-half head. 

Hips about one and one-half head and the same width as the 


The head, which is oval in any position, is divided into four 
equal parts. The first part is from the top of the head to where the hair 
begins to grow. The second part is where the eyes are p]a ced. The third 
is where the nose is, and the fourth part is the chin. 

The distance between the eyes is the same as the measurement of 
one eye. The base of the nose is the same width as one eye. 

The mouth is placed one-third the distance from the base of the 
nose to the chin. The size of the mouth is about one and one-half that of 
the eye. 

The ear is placed directly in line with the nose and is exactly 
the same length. The top of the ear is in direct line with the eyebrow. 


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It is absolutely undeniable that for centuries French designers 
have taken the lead In the fashion world and still lead in all that is 
original, artistic and striking in this field. In recent years, however, 
American designers have attained remarkable success in designing and 
manufacturing women's clothes that are both stylish and beautiful. 

To the French, our mode of life in relation to costume, which 
means the progress of civilisation, is of the greatest importance. Also, 
women's activities, in relation to costume, have been a significant 
influence in the creating of costumes for American women* 

In all dress designing, three major factors, each important in 
itself, but all closely related to each other, must be considered funda- 
mental* They are: 

1. Art and design* 

2* Fashion and style, 

3. Yearly and seasonal change in style* 

Art and design : The relation of Art to costume-creating cannot 
be overemphasized, as a basic factor in the designing of fashions* An 
elementary knowledge of drawing helps the student to express his ideas on 
paper in a clearer way than in any other form of expression* Some designers 
prefer to use muslin or cambric to design and construct a model, but this 
method requires much more time* A number of rough sketches should be made 

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before a decision can be reached; alterations of the contour, changes in 
color, etc*, are more clearly indicated, and the final result is more 
satisfactory. In a few lines the designer expresses his idea of conception 
of the new fad he wishes to create. 

No work of Art can be executed by chance or accident, the laws 
of order, theory of color, rules of composition, must be obeyed in order 
to create a work of art, and the designing of fashions, as it is done 
today, may be considered very artistic. All artists in the designing 
field, aim to Attain beauty which is the main quality of all art productions. 

With today's abundant variety of materials and colors at her dis- 
posal, the designer has ample choice. Bat it is important to warn that this 
very variety increases as never before the problem of presenting really 
novel ideas. We must remember, besides, that purely eccentric modes are not 
truly novel because they rarely obey the laws of order, color harmony and 
composition, hence they succeed In being only bizarre and their vogue is 
very short-lived indeed. Invariably they quickly give place to more 
artistic fashions. 

Dress design is so closely linked with Art development that from 
earliest Egyptian times to the present, in all civilized countries, the 
costume of a statue, or in a frieze or painting has been a factor in both 
dating the object and determining its nationality. In other words, each 
generation, each century and each racial group stamps its personality 
upon dress* To this day, the current mode of living and women's activities 
have greatly influenced the French in designing their creations. For 
instance, when designing for Americans they take into consideration the 
American esprit . 


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Fashion and Style : Theae two terms are so often confused that 
their respective significance must be clearly understood. 

What we generally call 11 fashion" is nearly always a fleeting 
caprice often governed by the various tastes of the day. For example: 
the Military effects Inspired by the war and imitated by the masses. 
Fashion is what the French call "la mode*" It changes frequently, and its 
deviations are by way of color, material, or adjuncts. "La mode a ses 
revolutions comme les Empires" (Fashion has its revolutions as Empires have) 
wrote the editor of a fashion magazine of 183U. 

Style, however, remains the main characteristic of costume, also 
by our mode of living. Style is often called "line." It preserves that 
remarkable quality which is of such great importance in the feminine attire. 
A very stylish gown may be rather plain, and this type of dress is not so 
much affected by its detail and adjuncts. 

Paris remains the dictator of style, but American designers do 
not always copy the French creations exactly as they slavishly did before 
World War I. They now take liberties in the choice of colors, materials, 
details and trimmings. In fact, American couturiers have become experts 
in obtaining marked originality by their artistic combinations. Their 
ready-made feminine garments become works of art; they are often exquisite 
in their arrangement of adjuncts, which may be considered of great import- 
ance to the trade. 

Yearly and seasonal change in Style: The main characteristic 
of a gown is its relation to the current style or fashion launched by the 
great designers of Paris or New York. After close analysis of dress and 


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-^ocmJ: le bo-rabie.-joo ocf xb»u rlatW t 3d-oru;tbB lo tarMisgaa'raft ii»ri^ oi: 

9rf(t \d jL'^cioijjaX «oid«isl 10 ^Xx^ B tOBVlUD tdi od - -©i.+aX^T: a^X bX w « 1« 

with the study of lines since the Egyptian period, we now discover (19^3) 
that radical changes of style seldom occur oftener than once a year and 
the change is on one or two, only, of the four main points of a gown; that 
is, the neckline, the waistline, the cut of the sleeve, the general style 
of the skirt* Although details may vary considerably, it is the dominant 
lines of the gown that date it - it is stylish, or it is not* 

In regard to color there is, curiously enough, at the beginning 
of each season a marked tendency toward unusual colors* Those shades that 
have new names, however, may be very similar to, or only slightly different 
from, some well-known color worn the previous season* There is always a 
reason for the popularity of certain shades and very often we shall find 
this reason in some current or immediately recent, incident or big event. 

In the United States, during the Second World War (1939-19U5), 
no radical change took place* For the first time in her fashion history 
the Government intervened through the War Production Board, which "froze" 
the silhouette by restriction on material even to regulating the width of 
the skirt and the hem* Now that radical changes in fashion occur again 
yearly, the designing of women 1 s clothes becomes more difficult and complex* 
The full significance of radical changes is never fully grasped at the 
beginning of seasons, but later, and when they have been launched by the 
great couturiers and observed by the masses, "la mode" does not take long 
in being gradually adopted* Dior, the French designer of his "New Look" 
is a vivid example of this* When he introduced his "New Look," everyone 
lengthened their skirts, the short one having become decidedly passee * 

A factor governing seasonal and yearly change in dress, is 


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woman ' s increasing participation in the many fields of modern activity 
necessitating types of garments adapted to these demands* With the dis- 
appearance of the class system of nobility in various countries and with 
the increasing emphasis on comfort in dress resulting from the remarkable 
industrial development, dressmaking as a trade has practically vanished* 
Copying imported models (both classic and casual) which are manufactured 
to be sold at lower prices is done extensively (195U) • 


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Beauty Involves a certain harmony of relation between the mind 
and the surroundings. Taste cannot be taught like other subjects, but 
under artistic environment it can grow and develop until one can enjoy 
a perception of beauty and distinguish between order, organization, chaos 
and ugliness* 

The thrill of beauty is generally caused by emotion at certain 
times of life. One who is trained in artistic judgment will enjoy this 
emotion and thrill more fully and oftener* A trained observer does not 
need this constant element of novelty, while an untrained observer is 
constantly in search of new elements* 

The meaning of order and organization is manifold* Too much 
organization becomes monotonous; a certain amount of interest and contrast 
is absolutely necessary to an artistic arrangement, therefore an elementary 
knowledge of the history of ornament is not only important, but it is 
interesting and inspiring, since so many of our modem fabric designs have 
been greatly influenced by historic ornaments* One may recall the various 
motifs inspired by Egyptian Art during the excavation that went on in 1925* 
Everything was "King Tut*" The fabrics in the designs reflected the strong 
influence that lasted about two or three years* Even costume jewelry was 
copied and manufactured in that special oriental style* 

Fabrics for dress and garment manufacturing are a factor of 


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uppermost importance In the designing of gowns. These silks, cottons, 
linens, or rayons may be designed In such a manner as to have their orna- 
ments woven as part of the texture stamped or embroidered on the material 
itself. In every case, however, the principles of order are Involved, 
harmony, balance and sequence enter into every part of the design composi- 
tion. That is, every good arrangement must possess these three elements 
of Design. 

The meaning of Design is thus expressed by Dr. Denman Ross of 
Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts: "By Design, I mean order 
in human feeling and thought, and in many varied activities by which 
the feeling of that thought is expressed. By order, I mean particularly 
three things, Harmony, Sequence, and Balance. Of these three principles 
of order, the first and foremost, the most far-reaching and comprehensive, 
is the principle of Harmony. We have Harmony in all Balance and we have 
it also in all Rhythm." 

"Design is a combination of tone, measure and shape combined to 
give harmony and balance. The Principles of order are: Harmony, Balance, 
and Sequence. Harmony means uniformity in all parts and elements of a 
composition. Balance means uniformity in Opposition, Balance may be 
obvious or occult. Sequence means uniformity in change or movement. n 

Designs are composed of units; those figures whatever form 
they may represent, are repeated in symmetrical and harmonious arrangements 
to cover a given space. We have repetition, alternation, variety and con- 
trast, in every good composition. The Unit may be a conventionalized 
flower or plant; it may be a combination of dots, lines, squares, or 


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circles, and flowers, but in any case this Unit Bust be placed with the 
idea in mind that it either repeats itself alone or in combination with 
other units. Repetition may be considered the most important factor of 
textile ornamentation. The main characteristic of a design must be care- 
fully planned before the entire given space is covered. The trend of 
fashion is to be considered, also the size of the entire decorative motif. 
It must not be monotonous, hence the reason for a sequence of alternation 
and gradation. Other forms subordinated to the main unit often relieves 
this monotony. But these designs should not decrease significance of the 
main unit in order that the entire surface possess the quality of "fitness" 
which must enter into every phase of this decoration. 

Designs are nearly always symbolic, even though the realization 
of this matter seldom impresses the great majority of people. Designs may 
be entire copies of historic Units, to express a certain current event, or 
they may be composed of certain forms, that convey definite messages and 
many of our modern designs are full of significance. 

In considering these Ancient ornaments, we realize that prac- 
tically all the various races of the world have attempted to draw or paint, 
no matter how primitive these people were. But, as they progressed in 
civilization their designs became more and more harmonious in line and 
color often copied or inspired from nature. Their religious feelings 
prompted these tribes to design motifs that were nearly always symbols of 
their different beliefs: for instance - in Egyptian art, the Winged Disk, 
emblem of the sun, etc. However, even the most savage ornaments have 
charm and beauty in their various arrangements* 






Egyptian Ornament 

The Art of the Egyptians was purely symbolic and entirely based 
on their favorite flowers - the Papyrus and the Lotus, which they conven- 
tionalized artistically, following, however, the rules of their geometrical 
and orderly lines* 

These exquisite forms conveyed their ideas and messages which 
never failed to be understood* It may be said that the Lotus, however, is 
found more frequently in the decoration of the Egyptians than any other 
form. That lovely flower that grows on the banks of the Nile, is a kind 
of plant similar to our pond lilies, but the color differs considerably. 
It is a vivid purple with a deep orange centre. The importance of that 
plant may be easily conceived since it is considered sacred and offered 
to the Gods in worship. 

The Egyptians also used the Papyrus plant in their symbolic 
decorative motifs, but not so extremely, however, as they did the Lotus. 
A kind of paper on which they wrote their sacred legends, was made from it. 

Another symbolic figure very much in use by the Egyptians was 
the Scarabaeus, as an emblem of evolution and advancement. That slow 
developing beetle in their designs, full of mysterious charm, is associated 
with the rising Sun exemplifying the successful growth of nature. 


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A 3 Syrian Ornament 
The Art of Assyria resembles the style of the Egyptians, but it 
seems to have deteriorated rather than progressed in perfection of lines 
and beauty. 

At the end of the l*th Century, B.C., an attempt to use natural 
forms instead of conventionalized ones in their general composition gave 
the Assyrian Ornament an inferior representation. Their ornaments were 
not based entirely on any natural figure. They used the pineapple and 
sometimes borrowed the Egyptian Lotus* But in the general conception of 
their Art the Assyrians failed to express themselves as the Egyptians did. 
Throughout their compositions, the Assyrians obviously lacked artistic 
rendering of their figures and motifs; they may have tried to express 
certain qualities which they failed to do because of a lack of refinement 
in their execution. In the character of their Art they never attained 
the high standard of the Egyptian artistic performance. 

Greek Ornament 

In the realm of decorative design as in their dress and archi- 
tecture, the Greeks attained such a high degree of perfection that no 
nation has succeeded in surpassing their artistic achievement. Quite 
surprisingly, however, the Greek ornament, though beautiful, has no 
symbolic meaning, but this fact does not seem to interfere with the 
beauty of the Greek* s exquisite creations, where symmetry is obvious in 
every part of their compositions* There is that excellent gradation of 
shape and measure with the rectangle and its subdivision as the base of 


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their productions. The reason for this lack of symbolism may be caused by 
different religious feelings from that of the Egyptian people who were 
more superstitious* 

But the style of many Greek motifs emphasize Egyptian influence 
though developed in an entirely different manner. The Greek quality of 
observation joined to a refined mind, were instrumental in observing more 
strictly the laws of nature, in new forms of conventionalized leaves and 

The designs painted on Greek vases exemplify admirably their 
attention in minute details following their established laws of harmony 
of shape and measure* It is interesting to compare the Greek and Egyptian 
ornament, such as the Scroll (symbol of the Nile River in the Egyptian 
hieroglyphics) and the Greek Lily, suggestive of the Lotus Flower, even 
the rosette is of Egyptian origin* However, the most popular motif is 
the Acanthus which was used profusely* The artists of the Renaissance 
considered this lovely group of leaves, which is seen in their composi- 
tions, as a perfect arrangement* Even today, artisans are inspired by 
these forms* 

Roman Ornament 

The type of decoration used by the Romans, in the various parts 
of their edifices and decorations varied considerably from that of the 
Greeks, their art appeared as if it were entirely for self -glory* 

We derive the major part of our information about Roman forms 
from the excavated city of Pompeii, hence the reason this style is often 


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called Pompeian. Their whole system of decoration seems to have been based 
from very few motifs and figures. It may be said also that many of these 
compositions now are considered rather vulgar. However, the execution of 
these designs was so exquisite and so perfectly rendered that they are 
extremely pleasing to the eye. Very few printed ornaments are to be seen, 
and these are really the same as those in Pompeii. There is no originality 
in the coloring and most forms are copies of Greek Art. 

The most used motif in the Roman composition is the scroll, 
grouping together leaf after leaf of the Acanthus plant which the Greek 
had used with more artistic skill. In their arrangement of this particular 
design, the Roman exaggerated a great deal from their desire to create a 
feeling of admiration. This pattern of the Acanthus leaf is so easily 
reproduced that modern designers have used it profusely. 

Chinese Ornament 
Chinese Art may be considered, with reason, to be about the only 
one really original in its conception. Of great antiquity this remarkable 
nation developed her art without the influence of other nations' forms. 
The Chinese, perfectly pleased with their accomplishment, did not progress 
as other nations did, but the development of their ornament possesses the 
main characteristics of good design, nevertheless. Their natural gift for 
harmony reveals the same quality shown in every period of their art 
development. In fact, the Chinese seem to be behind in the progress of 
new forms. However, their ornaments are extremely decorative and exemplify 
their natural gift for harmony of lines and color, even when the lack of a 


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knowledge of the theory of design seems so obvious in their many details* 
It may be also added that their concern about the observation of natural 
laws of radiation shows a high degree of natural instinct* 

The Chinese loved to turn into design everything and anything 
they selected for their decoration; for Instance, sea shells, rocks, 
clouds, the sea, etc* However, there are certain forms which used as a 
unit were often repeated - the dragon is one of these, even the centuries 
have not altered its hideous form which, as we know, is one of their 

Art of Japan 

As for the Art of the Japanese, it is obvious that it was 
borrowed from Chinese compositions* However, the chief concern of the 
Japanese was their aim to imitate nature which they studied carefully, 
thus giving them the undisputed ability to create charming new forms* 

Their general progress in Art is remarkable, but it can easily 
be explained because of a certain habit of decorating even the most common 
object with carvings of designs; this helped considerably in developing 
their natural artistic gift* 

Even today (19E>U)» Japanese art is often reproduced* The beauty 
of design in scrolls executed centuries ago has, like Chinese art, delight- 
ful arrangements of color harmony. There is variety in the realm of design 
and ideas in all Japanese compositions* 

Boston Art Museum possesses a valuable collection of Japanese 
art, due to the efforts of three men (Morse, Fenollesa, and Bigelow) who 
spent many years in Japan* Discovering the high standard of Art in the 


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country, these men Imported (1882) a large quantity of various pieces of 
work, such as wonderful scrolls, screens, and ceramics. 

The Japanese Art exhibition of November and December 195U 
(Initiated by John D. Rockefeller, 3rd) attracted visitors from all parts 
of the country, although it had been seen in Washington, New York, Chicago, 
and Seattle, before it came to Boston. 


10 8©W 







Romanesque Ornament 

The type of decoration known as the Romanesque style was really 
brought about by an alteration of the Roman forms which gave place to 
entirely new shapes* 

The necessity of these races to practice a rather strict economy 
in their various buildings and in their art in general directed the develop- 
ment of their ornament, which was a slow but radical change. In fact, the 
complete system of Romanesque ornament was strongly influenced by the church. 
Even the art of the builders was inspired by the religious orders of that 
period, Romanesque Art, distinctly religious, influenced civilization and 
culture in large measure. 

Byzantine Ornamen t 
The great majority of designs of that period were symbolic in 
character. Despite the fact that Romanesque ornament seemed to have 
followed the influence of Persia and Assyria, Byzantine Art developed in 
an entirely different form, new, beautiful, and with remarkable original 
harmony of lines. The period of transition between the Romanesque and 
the Byzantine ornament, however, caused confusion resulting in a certain 
difficulty in their respective classification. 



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The transition between the Greek and Reman periode was more 
sudden, hence, the practically easy manner of distinguishing these two 
previous periods, as compared with the Romanesque and Byzantine periods* 
In fact, it is sometimes almost impossible to distinguish these two 
ornaments, although the Byzantine ornament may be considered with reason 
to be more finished and in a way more beautiful. It had developed artis- 
tically though slowly and one only has to study the entire decorative 
motifs of the great church of St Sophia in Istanbul (Constantinople), 
built by Emperor Justinian in the year $32 A # D # , to realize the exquisite 
decoration of scrolls and conventionalized Acanthus leaves which exemplify 
vividly the enormous difference from any previous forms, but a very beau- 
tiful design is shown here of conventionalized leaf forms with a marked 
tendency toward the much-used scroll* 

Gothic Ornament 

The new conditions caused by religious and political changes in 
Western Europe influenced Gothic art in large measure. It succeeded the 
Romanesque period and grew rapidly in various original forms, having 
developed differently from the Classic art because, being a Christian art, 
it naturally varied from pagan art. 

Gothic ornament is rather complex and it is too long to analyze 
the periods that characterize the many motifs and details that one finds 
in the beautiful cathedrals and churches, where these lovely forms were 
inserted. For example, the Ball-Flower ornament consisting of floral 
designs conventionalized, beautifully carved, as was also the head of a 


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prcciinent personality which often adorns the dripstone of a Gothic edifice. 

The most perfect Gothic ornament is considered to be the early 
English style. Though beautiful, Gothic art developed differently in 
France, and there are more examples of those exquisite forms for us to 
admire, as so many cathedrals and churches are still left (although 
approximately 5,000 were destroyed during World War II) in spite of 
numerous destructive wars that have been waged in France. In Germany, 
Gothic Art was copied from France. 

Renaissance Ornament 

In the realm of Renaissance decorative designs, one must begin 
by tracing its progress from Italy throughout Europe. 

Renaissance Art may have, in a certain measure, taken its inspir- 
ation from the art of antiquity, but the artists of that period were really 
innovators who were somewhat influenced by the Greco-Roman motifs. Animated 
by an entirely different spirit from that of the antiquity, the ten 
centuries of Christianity left its stamp, and the spirit of the Renaissance 
artist contributed to the complete change of form with really no close imi- 
tation of past periods. The first period may be described as a combination 
of Middle Age form with those of antiquity. 

The secular spirit that prevailed influenced the new forms and 
for the first time since the fall of the Empire, civil designs were more 
important than religious ones. The value of the study of the Renaissance 
period ornament cannot be overestimated. No style of decoration has ever 
been arranged with more regard to the principles of order - harmony, 
sequence, balance - than the ornament of this extraordinary period. 


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The Italian Renaissance style is absolutely influenced by the old 
Roman forms. Some of the intact Roman buildings were the direct influence 
of that remarkable period* Exact copies of designs were first obvious as 
the artists endeavored to introduce a vastly different style from what the 
Gothic art had been. There was really no attempt to launch entirely new 
designs and forms, but just a desire to use the lines of Pagan, Roman, and 
Greek art for modern Christian art. In fact, these old pagan designs were 
admired deeply by Italian artists who felt that nothing could be conceived, 
or innovated that could surpass these ancient patterns. These stone frag- 
ments of untold charm in their perfection of details, could be used and 
recut to the building of Christian monuments and churches. We may mention 
here the great artist Donatello who executed with perfection the exquisite 
bas relief designs which are still the admiration of the traveller* 

In France, however, the artist differed somewhat from the Italians 
In his conception of what this period represented in the world of art. 
Artists were accustomed to work in the Gothic style, despite the training 
which they received from the Italians who came to France, hence, the 
Renaissance movement in France developed suddenly on entirely new lines. 

Possessed of remarkable ambition to surpass their instructors the 
Italians, the French were not entirely dominated by Italian influence. 
The style of France Renaissance is, therefore, considered of a very high 
standard. It is a modification of classic forms. 







Art of India 

The most remarkable feature of Indian A rt is it a quaint quality of 
originality. No foreign influence of any kind is apparent in their odd 
system of decoration* The nation of India has not been, and is hardly even 
today, a progressive nation, Their Art remains practically the same, sym- 
bolic in nature, and representative of their religion and superstitions* 

They used practically the same or similar motifs based on one 
particular floral form which appears different, however, because of their 
innate sense of balance and rhythm* This explains why their designs are 
so far from being monotonous* Their natural instinct for color is exempli- 
fied by their harmonious schemes, so well adapted to the original applica- 
tion of their ornaments* They possess, however, certain rules for their 
color arrangements which they observe strictly, especially on their fabrics 
that are generally known to be exquisite in coloring as well as in design* 
Gold is often used in various grounds of light or dark surface* Often 
times a gold outline emphasizes the graceful unit of the decoration* 

Arabian Ornament 

Very few traces of Arabian Art may be obtainable; however the Arabs 
certainly designed and worked out an Art of some kind, but nothing in the 
line of pottery, arms or textiles exist today to give a clew to the 
particular originality of their Art* 

The spreading of Byzantine influence from the 6th to the Uth 
centuries in Europe contributed considerably to the development of the 
Arabian forms* The Arabian decoration is rather simple despite its many 
complicated forms* There are no superfluous lines* Their close contact 


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with the Persian and Greek Art gave the Arabs the chance to develop forme 
that are called Byzantine. 

Inspired by Islam Art, their designs grew in different form* 
influenced by the Byzantine ornament which had been itself inspired by 
early Arabian designs in the beginning. For color, a blue tonality with 
yellow and gold designs* 

Turkish Ornament 

Turkish Art is in fact a combination of modified Arabian forms with 
early Byzantine ornament. The Turks are not an artistic people. The 
grouping of entirely different motifs exemplifies a tendency to deviate 
from traditions and the ancient forms of their ancestors. 

They were the first among the nations of the East to adopt the 
style of the Western part of Europe in their architecture and general 
decorations. Even their beautiful carpets are not supposed to have been 
designed by them; their rugs, so well planned in both ornament and color, 
are said to be mostly Arabian in character. Therefore, their embroideries 
remain practically the only part of their Art that may readily be called 
Turkish ornament exemplifying the real character of that Nation. Their 
Art sense is considered below the standard of the Art of India* 

Persian Ornament 
The main beauty of the Persian decorative design is its freedom 
and elegance that we notice in the rugs and printed cloths. Though 
inspired by Arabian motifs, the genius of the Persian nation contributed 
largely to the perfection and variety of her designs which we still find 


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in her exquisite carpets, illuminated manuscripts, embroidery and pottery, 
so skillfully designed and executed. 

We may occasionally notice a similarity in her work with that 
of India, especially in the coloring, but as a whole, Persian decorative 
art, though beautiful, is not as perfect as the Arabian design* This may 
be due to the mixing of real life subjects In their composition. But the 
great pomp of the Persian nation left its stamp on her entire system of 
decoration, and her undeniable skill and original taste gave her the 
chance of developing really more graceful forms than both India and Arabia. 

The floral designs arranged in various styles either with real or 
imaginary animals - sometimes a human figure - were as many other artistic 
nations' motifs - mostly symbolic, in the realm of ideas. 

Persian color harmony, though rather conventional, is like the 
style of the Art of India, polychromatic in nature on a dominant surface 
or ground* 

Celtic Ornament 

The origin of Celtic ornament has never been truly established. We 
hear that it was in Ireland, then again we are told its birthplace was in 
the Scandinavian countries. However, Celtic Art stands out as forms that 
exemplify their undoubted antiquity by this interlacing design derived 
from primitive ornaments. The main characteristic of their compositions 
is the absence of foliage and other plant forms; also their elaborate 
geometrical patterns. As it advanced in style, in connection with 
Byzantine forms the Celtic ornament was often composed with a part of the 


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interlacing cord with animal forma, birds or heads of animals, which effect 
gave the entire arrangement an appearance of originality and decorative 

Celtic ornaments do not seem to be symbolic in their general 
representation except in one case where designs do not have definite 
beginning or end. This may have been inspired by the feeling of the eternal 
peace of future life. 

Their intricate interlaced designs and the perfection of their 
units of lines with repetition and alteration is so remarkable as to be 
almost beyond comprehension. The harmony of their line compositions was 
not only exquisite in their intricate arrangements, but the coloring also 
is beautiful and extremely well balanced in value. 


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This short chapter on textiles is a mere expose of their origin and 
variety as used in clothing industry today. 

According to tradition, fig leaves were the first "textile" used by 
human beings. Leaves and grasses still clothe primitive tropical tribes. 
Early people of the temperate zone protected themselves from winter's cold 
by animal skins and even today fur is the fabric from which Eskimos make 
their garments. As nomads became agricultural they learned to weave 
textiles from the wool of sheep and from flax and cotton plants. This 
spinning and weaving became not only a necessity of civilization but also 
a domestic art. As peoples became nations, textile played a more and more 
important part in human relations, differentiating priest from layman, ruler 
from the ruled - the higher the office the finer and more ornate the textile. 

It is a far cry from primitive homespun to the intricately processed 
"miracle fabrics" of today and, in their extraordinary development, textiles 
have undergone various interesting phases. Though they differ considerably 
in origin, process and characteristics all textiles may be classified by the 
following analyses: 

1. Origin, or Raw Material : vegetable, animal, synthetic (man 
invented) . 

2* Process or Composition : woven, braided, knitted, or non-woven 
(The "Pellom" of 19&). 

3« Characteristics : 

a. Coloring: - dying, bleaching, printing. 

b. Finish: - lustrous, dull, smooth, rough. 


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c. Quality: - soft, stiff, heavy, lightweight, thick, thin. 
When we speak of textile whatever its kind, we seldom realize that 
it is composed of several parts, the smallest and most important being 
fiber . The fiber of the raw material is converted into a filament which 
may vary considerably in length according to the kind of raw material from 
which it comes* This in turn is made into yam which constructs all kinds 
of threads interlacing each other vertically (the warp or yarn) or hori- 
zontally ( woof, or filling yarn) to weave the textile according to the 
given design. 

Fibers may be (l) animal, such as wool, mohair, alpaca, horsehair, 
silk, etc., or (2) vegetable, such as linen, cotton, kapok, jute, straw, 
etc., or (3) man-made, such as "miracle fabrics" whose wide variety are 
in a class by themselves (so greatly their basic elements differ. They 

a. Cellulose : chemically treated substance forming filaments 
producing the lovely, silky rayons, bembergs, acetates, etc. 
ProtQ^ fibers whose basic element is skim milk. From this 
"Lanital" (Italian) and "Aralac" (American) are manufactured 
to resemble wool* 

c. Vegetable base : corn meal and soy bean from which the cloth 
called "Zein" is made. 

d. Resins ? "Nylon" and "Vinyon." 

These synthetic filaments undergo an elaborate chemical process 
whose terminology, like the names given the finished fabrics, bewilders 
the uninitiate. How these exquisitely lovely materials could be invented 

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and perfected or even dreamed of is a mystery to purchasers. And their 
variety multiplies I 

For years type of textile has ceased to be regulated by the seasons. 
Appearance and durability rather than texture are now the determining fac- 
tors, hence wool or aralac may be worn in summer; rayon and nylon in winter. 
Very few dress materials, if any, are as stiff and heavy today as they were 
before the Twentieth Century* 

Some knowledge of the main classes of textile used in women's cloth- 
ing is so essential to prospective purchasers or makers of frocks that I 
shall devote separate pages to each kind of material manufactured at 
present in civilized countries. 


Woolen cloth, the most ancient of textiles and, next to cotton, the 
most important, comes from the fleece of domesticated sheep of which there 
are hp species. Curiously enough, if domestic sheep are allowed to run 
wild they soon return to their primitive state and produce inferior wool. 

Sheep herding is said to be man's first movement toward civilization. 
King David in the Old Testament was a shepherd and both Hebrews and 
Babylonians wore woolen cloth some thousand years B, C, and although various 
modern devices have considerably reduced the time required to manufacture 
this textile, the method of preparing wool fibers is today practically the 
same as it was then. 

In Europe, as early as 200 B, C. Romans improved their breed of 
sheep and it is said that the famous merinos of Spain are descendants of 
those Roman flocks* Crossed with native breeds of other countries, Spain* s 


merino, which produces the moat beautiful of all wools, is responsible for 
the marked Improvement in the crossbreed of which there are approximately 
200 varieties, Spain forbade the export of her merino for centuries until 
the Treaty of Armada permitted Britain its importation and in 1795 the ban 
was lifted for all countries* But England, because of her soil and climate, 
could not raise the merino sheep successfully* Every English colony started 
raising sheep, however, and soon England became the best producer of wool 
in the world* She has been making woolen cloth since 1066 when skilled 
weavers were brought from the continent to teach her. 

In the United States woolen mills were established in Massachusetts - 
one in Rowley (16U3) and the other at Watertown (166U). It was also in 
Massachusetts, in the late 18th Century, that a water-power mill appeared* 
Incidentally, President Washington raised flocks of sheep and the weave 
shed and loams of his plant may be seen at Mt„ Vernon© But it was at 
Hartford, Connecticut, that his inaugural suit of fine, dark brown wool 
was made* Today, our States that raise sheep and manufacture wools are 
Texas, which leads in quantity, Wyoming, California, Colorado, Montana, 
Idaho, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Missouri, Michigan, Arizona, Nevada, and 
Ohio whose wool equals in quality the merino of Central Europe, Australia, 
South America and South Africa* 

This warm, soft, strong, practical fabric so elastic it may be 
stretched one-third its original length without breaking, is now manufac- 
tured all over the world. The quality of the cloth is determined by the 
length of its fiber. Fine broadcloths and other fine woolens come from 
shorter staples whereas long, less wavy fibers make worsted and other less 


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expensive fabrics* Sheep raised In Ireland, Scotland and Canada, etc*, 
give this longer staple which, however, makes a very good quality of wool* 
"Mongrel sheep" give irregular staple-fibers (sometimes 16" long) which 
product inferior wool used mostly for rugs, carpets, etc*, but also for 
children* s clothes* 

Wools are cheap In places far from civilization but rather costly 
in some European countries and especially in our own land whose high custom 
tariff protects wool growers and manufacturers* 

Cloth is also made from "pulled" or "dead" wool, so-called because 
taken from the cast-off hides of slaughter-house sheep* This wool is used 
in greater quantity than the virgin wool but is inferior to it because of 
the chemicals used to detach the fibers from the dead animals* Fleece 
gives us such cloths as challis, cheviot, covert cloth, flannel, kasha, 
tweed, serge, wool jersey, etc*, etc* 

In the days of cotton-and-wool, or synthetic f iber-and-wool 
mixtures or substitutes for wool, it is well for milady to look for the 
descriptive tag on her prospective purchase* For instance, "100% virgin 
wool" means wool that has never before been used nor mixed with other 
fiber So On the other hand, "re-used" wool means, as the name indicates, 
wool that has been used already in material and is now re-made into other 
apparently new material* What we call reprocessed wool means that the wool 
fabric had been previously reduced to fiber* 

Because not all wools are fabricated from sheep's fleece Milady the 
Purchaser of woolen yardage or garments should know the main classes which 
are often times mentioned as wool but which come from various animals such 


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A lpaca; named for the animal which is allied to the camel family 
and is indigenous to Peru and Chili and whose fleece makes it* Alpaca 
cloth, stylish and expensive at the turn of the century, is seldom 
mentioned now* Peruvians wore it before the Spanish Conquest and afterward 
made it successfully for European trade. 

Angora : comes from the fleece of the Angora goat (said by some to 
be the most ancient domestic animal known) and is especially adapted for 
hand and power knitting* Mohair is made from it, a strong, cool, dust and 
moisture resistant cloth used mostly for upholstery, braid, lining, and 
even false hair* 

Cashmere ; a soft, wool, beautiful, practical, but expensive, made 
from the fine fleece beneath the hair of the goats of Kashmere, Tibet, and 
the Himalayas* The brownish fibers are strong and silky* Paislay shawls 
are made of this cloth, as well as dresses* 

Llama ; named after the South American animal llama, native of 
Bolivia, Peru and Argentina, a smaller, humpies s cousin of the camel 
family* Llama makes a strong, durable cloth for sportswear* 

Vicuna ; a very soft fabric selling for more than $100 a yard, 
from the fleece of the vicuna, a small relative of the llama roaming the 
Andes from Ecuador to Bolivia and often feeding in sheep pastures* Its 
reddish tan hair is delicate and lovely* 


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American Wool Cloth 

English Wool Tweed 

Shoddy Wool Cloth 


awT loo 


Perhaps the oldest vegetable textile fiber is flax* From its 
filaments comes linen,- strong, beautiful, popular* Egyptians wore linen 
some $000 years ago* They also used it to encase mummies* To such a high 
state of perfection did they bring it that its finest was almost as sheer 
as modern chiffon I Throughout antiquity linen was a symbol of luxury, and 
to be dressed "in purple and fine linen" signified royalty or at least 

Curiously enough, it was Phoenicians who Introduced flax-cultivation 
into Ireland, and today Eire, possessing one-third of the world's spindles, 
leads in the production of fine linen - the best, in fact* Belgium comes 
a close second because of the composition of her Lys River water* Coutrai, 
on that river, is nicknamed "the flax city." Other countries raising flax 
are France, Holland, Russia, South Africa, India, Asia Minor, Japan and 

Linen fabricating is a long process and every country has its own 
method* Russia uses the most ancient and natural one - retting - which 
still is considered the best for durability, but Ireland has developed 
the most rapid method called tank-retting* Ireland^ industry was founded 
by French textile workers about 1700 A* D. Around that time a man, Louis 
Crommelin, improved the technique of raising and processing flax* 

As early as 1686 and 1688 England and Scotland had flourishing 
linen industries, the weaving of the flax being done, however, entirely 
in the home until 1787 when England established a spinning mill. Next, 
in 1812, she introduced a successful power loom* Cur American colonies 


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also cultivated flax and their homespun linen, as it is still called, was 
used extensively by our forefathers not only for their clothes but also 
for their household linen. They had brought the indispensable spinning 
wheel with them from England, Prance, or Holland, etc,, and every girl 
learned to spin as a matter of necessity* Today, the United States 
cultivates flax in the Dakotas, Minnesota, and Montana, chiefly for linseed 
oil and Imports her yam for linen manufacture, cotton having superseded 
linen as an American textile industry. 

Linen making has been so perfected that it is now non-shrinkable, 
but though it launders well, it still fails to take dye evenly and although 
it is much cooler than cotton it is so much more expensive that it is less 
universally used. However, nothing seems to affect it, neither water, 
hot sun, soap or a hot iron. 

Under the microscope linen fiber resembles bamboo in structure and 
is much longer than that of cotton, but to distinguish between the two 
textiles, which closely resemble each other, the simplest method is that 
used by French peasants and New Eh glanders who dampen a little spot and 
watch it spread - the linen will absorb more quickly* 

Linen is manufactured in a wide variety of weaves such as batiste, 
homespun, linon (French for lawn), crash, handkerchief linen, and Irish* 

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SAMPLES of Ljam 

Irish Linen 

Hone-spun Linen 

Handkerchief Linen 





Cotton, though now being superseded largely by rayon and nylon for 
dresses and underwear, is the number one fabric* Its manufacture is one 
of the important industries In the United States of America, and not only 
supplies 90% of clothing material but is used also in connection with 
medicine and in the manufacture of explosives* 

White or creamy, the small cotton plant belongs to the mallow family 
and is related to the hollyhock* Though tropical, it is also cultivated 
successfully in temperate climates where there is satisfactory rainfall* 
Of its numerous species, varying in quality and appearance, only three or 
four are essential to man* Egyptian cotton is said to be among the best 
because of the Nile River which irrigates the valley where it grows, but 
the Sea Island species off the coast of Georgia turns out the most perfect 
cotton in the world* Closely resembling the Egyptian is Arizona cotton 
but its fibers are longer (1 1/2° long)* Mexican and Peruvian fabrics 
are very much like in color and texture that in Egyptian tombs* The 
Peruvian fiber yields a very strong filament often mixed with wool yarn 
for the manufacture of merino because it is itself rather wooly* Cotton 
with a long, silky fiber used for priestly garments grows in India, China 
and Abyssinia* 

Our earliest records of cotton-growing are in India, 1800 B. C,, 
and later in Egypt* In the first century A # D*, muslin and calico were 
brought to Italy and Spain by Arab traders, and in the 9th Century, Moors 
were cultivating cotton in Spain* The Crusades spread the knowledge of 
cotton throughout Europe and as early as the 13th Century England was using 


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cotton for candlewick. Columbus, in 1^92, found cotton trees in the Bahama 
Islands and took samples to Spain • By 1$19 cotton was found in Mexico and 
Central America by Pizarro and Cortez, and Brazil was cultivating it in 
„ l£20 . Not before 16U1, however, was cotton established as an industry in 
England and around 1701 Britain forbade its use In order to protect her 
wool industry. 

Here in the United States cotton was being raised in 1607 in 
Jamestown Colony, and plantations were flourishing by 16"?0. Of course, as 
early as 1792 Eli Whitney, an American teacher in Connecticut had invented 
the well-known cotton gin (a machine for separating the cotton from its 
seed) which, though a simple device, revolutionized the cotton industry by 
speeding up production. Now, our "cotton belt" extends from Texas to 
North Carolina* At present (1935 we supply $0% of the world's cotton 
consumption. Down the years there have been U000 attempts to perfect a 
mechanical cotton picker to do away with the tedious back-breaking business 
of hand-picking. Bust brothers having successfully invented one in 1936, 
we may increase production further. Yet, so far as we ourselves are con- 
cerned, we consume only 1$% of the output. 

How is cotton cloth graded, you ask. By the number of threads to 
the square inch, called the "thread count, " of crosswise or filling yarns. 

Cotton waste is used for paper padding. 

According to recent (1955*) reports of the cotton manufacturing 
industry, its importance seems to be increasing so much that manufacturers 
are speaking of it as the Miracle fabric* 


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Egyptian Cotton 

American Cotton 

Cotton from India 



Silk, that beautiful and strong product of the mulberry trees' 
silkworm, does not seem to date as far back as cotton or linen* Chinese 
legend, however, put it at 26i|0 B. C* when the young impress, Li-Lin g-Chi, 
discovered how the thread could be unwound from the silkworm's cocoon and 
spun into cloth* Astonished China justly named her "Goddess of the Silk 
Worm," and started cultivating mulberry trees and developing her silk 
industry to a high degree of excellence* She kept her secret for centuries 
by threatening the death penalty on any betrayer of it* 

Nevertheless, it was disclosed to Japan in the third century A* 0* 
and she immediately became interested in sericulture* Eventually, small 
quantities of raw silk found their way to Greece and Persia, who marveled 
at the extraordinary substance. It was not till the sixth century, how- 
ever, that the Roman Empire and the Western World heard of the cocoon's 
mysterious, lovely filament* By $$2. A. D. missionary monks, after a 
long stay in China, had brought back silk-worm eggs and bundles of young 
mulberry trees thus starting an industry that has flourished till now 
when the 20th century has given birth to still more astonishing textile 
marvels through chemical experimentation* France, became especially 
zealous in silk manufacture, Lyons being her foremost designing center* 

During the 1880 's the silk industry was in grave danger of dis- 
appearing because of disease devastating the silk worms, but the great 
scientist, Louis Pasteur (he who invented the pasteurization of milk) by 
study found the cause of the disease and saved the silk industry* He 
initiated scientific methods of selecting silkworm eggs and became known 



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as the "Father of Modern Sericulture." 

Silk fiber originates thus: On the mulberry leaf the moth lays its 
eggs which hatch out of the larvae which, in turn grow into worms and for 
three days these spin their cocoon from which, some fifteen days later, 
bursts a new moth to lay its average of 3^0 eggs, and the cycle repeats 

Silk fiber is elastic and in color ranges from creamy white to tan, 
the fibers of the uncultivated silkworm being somewhat darker. They take 
dyes beautifully. For centuries silk has had no rival in beauty, durabil- 
ity and strength, silk fiber having one-third the strength of iron wire. 
It sheds dust easily and is cool even when the weather is warm. It is 
easily cleansed but does not launder so well. Its natural luster may be 
increased by manufacturing process. On the other hand, silk can easily 
be spoiled. Dampness tends to rot it, hence it is poor material for 
tropical use. 

Silks are of many kinds such as China, gros-grain, taffeta, foulard, 
surah, satin, pongee, shantung, moire, chiffon, crepe, etc. Today some 
of these are so closely imitated in rayon as nearly to baffle all but the 
expert and it is a question whether synthetic "miracle fabrics" may not 
ultimately supersede the mulberry's miracle textile. 

The United States of America has not been successful so far in 
cultivating silkworms chiefly, perhaps, for economic reasons. Labor is so 
much more expensive here than in China where girls receive $4 "to 10^ a 
day, or Japan whose wage is or Italy, even, where workers' pay was 
hpj a day (1938). 


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As we have said, rayon is a successful substitute for silk* 
Cheaper than either silk or cotton, easily mixed with cotton or wool, 
extremely durable and perfected to launder well, it leads as a textile for 
the manufacture of women' s dresses and underwear • 

As early as 166U the British scientist, Dr. Hooke, after much 
research and experiment, created an artificial fiber. In 1710 the French 
physicist, Rene de Reaumur, suggested the possibility of producing a tex- 
tile fiber to replace cotton and silk* The Swiss chemist, George Audemars, 
after considerable experimentation took out in 1855 a patent for making 
fine threads from Nitro-cellulose. By 188U, Sir Joseph W. Swan, one of 
Edison's associates, exhibited what he called artificial silk cloth made 
from filaments developed by his own process invented in 1877 • From 188U 
to 1889 Count Hilaire de Chardonnet, Pasteur's pupil, was making an 
extract from mulberry leaves from which he built up an artificial silk 
which he exhibited in Paris in I89O. He had been working on the idea for 
over thirty years. That same year Louis Henri Despaissis patented his 
cuprammonium process which German scientists afterward improved and two 
years later the viscose process was patented by its discoverers, Cross 
and Bevan, In 1908 artificial silk hosiery was being manufactured from 
imported rayon yarn and Marcus Hook in 1911 established a viscose rayon 


- - ^ 

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plant in Pennsylvania. But really it was not till 1920 that a successful 
process was developed by Henri and Camille Dreyfus* That same year rayon 
yarn was produced commercially at approximately six dollars a pound; today 
it is only fifty-five cents a pound. Not till 192U did various commercial 
associations and the United States Department of Commerce adopt for these 
synthetic textiles the general name of rayon. Now, besides Pennsylvania, 
the United States has rayon factories in Virginia and Tennessee (from both 
of which comes one-half of our production), Delaware, Maryland, North 
Carolina, and Georgia. The rayon factories of Europe are in France, 
Germany, England, Italy, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland and Czechoslovakia. 
In Asia, Japan manufactures it. 

The materials, processes and finished rayon products differ greatly 
as may be guessed somewhat from the numerous trade names given to identify 
them such as "acetate staple," "Acetate staple rayon," "aristocrat" 
(bemberg), "cuprammcnium rayon," "avisco, " "Viscose rayon staple fiber" 
(very strong), "bemberg," "ceylonese," "acetate rayon yarn" and fabrics, 
etc. All these, together with other synthetics of various basic elements 
comprise the textiles nicknamed "miracle fabrics" which seem so mysterious 
and bewilder us so that manufacturers are now putting the trade names 
somewhere on the garment to identify the substance of which it is made. 

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Well acquainted, as we are at present with this extraordinary and 
beautiful fabric - used now, not only for underwear but also for dresses, 
blouses, etc*, it is interesting to learn what its substance consists of: 
quoting the dictionary (Thorndike-Bamhart): "Nylon, an extremely strong 
elastic, and durable substance, used to make clothing, stockings, bristles, 

The fibers of that wonderful textile are composed of coal (from 
mines of Kanawha River Valley, W # Virginia), air and water* The Nylon 
salt is then produced which Du Pont (plant in Seaford, Delaware) uses 
for the manufacturing of the finished product nylon (introduced in 19hP) • 

Nylon replaces other materials for various reasons, principally 
because it launders easily and dries rapidly. It needs no ironing and 
takes very little room in Madame* s valise* 

We owe this remarkable invention to Dr. Wallace H. Gar other, whose 
chemical exploration led to the discovery of Nylon, after eleven years of 
research and experiments. 

Lanital and Aralac 

Lanital was first manufactured in Italy about 1921* to replace 
wool which was rare and too expensive. 

Here in America we have Aralac (same basic elements) which takes 
its name from the first letters of Atlantic Research Association (Ara), 
and the last syllable lac f rom the Latin base for the word milk . It is 
made from casein, the principal protein being milk. The plants are in 


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Newtonville, Massachusetts, and Taftville, Connecticut* If Aralac could 
satisfactorily replace wool for clothing, it certainly would be a much 
cheaper textile as it takes one year for a sheep to produce about eight 
pounds of fibers, while a cow gives enough milk in the same time (one 
year) to produce approximately 100 pounds of casein fiber. 

Lanital and Aralac take the same kind of dyes that wool cloth 
does* However, a prolonged boiling treatment may considerably weaken their 
strength. Mixed with other major fibers, Aralac frequently replaces wool 
cloth for garments. It was used first in the making of felt hats* 

And the list of man-made fabrics continues rapidly from year to 
year, with varied names that suggest the atomic age: Orion, Dracon, Dynel, 
Lurex, Vicar a , etc. Materials, though mysterious as to their composition, 
are most satisfactory in the manufacturing of clothes* Most of them, 
light weight and strong, easy to launder, emerging from the tub with 
their frills and plaits unchanged, are gaining in popularity. 

This revolutionary change in textile was so well exemplified by 
the recent exhibition, sponsored by Filene 1 s of Boston, Massachusetts, at 
the Museum of Science, Boston (19J>3)» T n e display of these magic tissues 
dyed in gorgeous hues actually took the feminine public by surprise and 
now the entire population is textile conscious* 

The New Cloth "Pellon" 

From year to year, miracles are performed in the field of fabrics; 
the latest one called "Pellon" is decidedly astonishing in its texture, 
resembling glossy thin leather* 

Recently appearing in the United States (193>3), this new material 

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is non-woven, non-shrinkable, and actually possesses all the qualities of 
other synthetic fabrics (nylon, orlon, etc.), while being more practical* 
It is extremely strong, cuts easily, and also pleasant to manipulate 
having no bias and no salvage, is composed of various kinds of fibers 
(wool, camel 1 s hair, etc*) and chemically treated* 

Pellon is mostly used for interlining because it is warm - does 
not wrinkle, consequently does not interfere with the perfect fit of a 
garment or suit* 

Though the credit of such a useful discovery may be attributed to 
a fiber expert by the name of David Morgenstern who discovered it in a 
Holland shop while travelling in Europe in search of new material, the 
real inventors were two young scientists, one Dutch and the other German, 
who actually developed that marvelous fabric before World War II, and 
later perfected "Pellon" $ it was not then called by that name* David 
Morgenstern, who began manufacturing the new cloth in this country, 
gave it the name "Pellon*" 


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The arrangement of tones in dress is almost as essential as the 
cut and line, and the general style of a garment. It must be kept in 
harmony with the individual coloring of the wearer, that is, where the 
psychology of color reveals itself as a significant factor in relation 
to color as applied to costume. Each color creates a certain sentimental 
impression, and nearly always expresses the character of the wearer. 

The unexplained fascination of color remains a charming enigma. 
In its meaning and interpretation, it is as expressive as music, an 
atmosphere of joy or gloom may be created by certain color schemes and 
our sensitiveness is more or less affected by various combinations. 

Everyone is anxious to wear the newest or latest hues that fashion 
dictates. It is important, therefore, that women who wish to design their 
clothes and dress in the latest style, should learn the spectrum colors, 
the meaning of color value, classification of color harmony, and the laws 
of contrast. Colors are warm or cool, light or dark, luminous or dull, 
and the effect varies according to the change of atmosphere and light, etc. 

The three main sources from which we may guide ourselves in the 
combining of colors are the color spectrum, nature, and a close observation 
and study of the many artistic arrangements of tones that have been used 
throughout the ages during the best period of decorative art. Hue, value, 
and intensity, the three properties of color, must be well understood 


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before attempting to form harmonious arrangements of tones following the 
trend of fashion, with the many new names of color* 

HUE is the color itself, the property by which we recognize each 
one; Ex* - Blue, red, and yellow, which are the primary colors* The 
spectrum, commonly called the color wheel, is the direct result of the 
close analysis of light* 

The spectrum of colors varies slightly when seen under different 
light, such as sunlight, gas light, electric light, etc*, however, it 
does not change considerably. 

The secondary colors are composed of two primaries, ex* - red and 
yellow form orange; blue and yellow, green; red and blue, violet* 

VALUE in color means the degree or proportions of light or dark 
in its particular shade, A color is full intensity or neutralized (dark 
or light)* Value is actually measured and is as important as color 

INTENSITY or CHROMA means the brilliancy of a color. The colors 
of the spectrum are fuU intensity, measured by wave lengths* In the 
various use of colors, it is often mixed or neutralized in its use 
especially for the manufacturing of textiles* 

There are new colors and new combinations every season and new 
names are added to the long list of fashionable tones* Eugene Chevreul 
( 1736-1889 ) in his book, "Simultaneous Contrast," explains the various 
effects and results of colors being placed side by side when not related. 
According to this famous Frenchman, 720 colors may be made from the 
primaries. About 1836 this great chemist was drafted by the Government 


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of France to make colors for the Gobelin Tapestry manufacture, as he 
was considered the best chemist of France. He took about two years to 
study colors and wrote several books from which the majority of writers 
on color obtained their information© 

Mr. Munsell, the great American colorist, mentioned Mr. Chevreul 
in his wonderful book. It is said that in the Gobelin Tapestry rooms 
12,000 shades of colors are made from the primary and secondary colors. 
Contrast, whether of color itself, or of color value, is essential to 
all schemes of beautiful association. For commerce, for dressmakers 
and milliners, colors are generally named from flowers, fruits, minerals 
and other substances. It is for us to analyze these shades and distinguish 
the spectrum color from which they were made. 


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By color harmony, we mean a well-balanced and proportioned 
arrangement pleasing to the eye* 

The various schemes of color arrangements may be excellent, beau- 
tiful, satisfactory, or odious; they may be attractive and commanding* 
Therefore, we must have rules to govern ourselves in the combining of two 
or more hues, using the scientific classification of color harmony which 
is composed of four kinds of color schemes* These various combinations 
of tones may be classified as follows: Complementary, Analogous, 
Contrasted, Dominant, and Perfected* 

1* Complementary harmony* Colors that are placed opposite on 
the scale of colors form what is called a Complementary scheme of colors; 
it is a beautiful contrast of warm and cool tones* Ex*- red and green* 

2* Analogous harmony* This scheme of tones is formed with two 
or more colors placed next to each other on the scale of colors, between 
primaries* Ex* Blue and violet* 

3* Contrasted harmony* A combination of colors and non-colors 
form a contrasted scheme of color* Ex* Blue and white* 

iu Dominant harmony* A color scheme composed of one color in a 
sequence arrangement of different values* Ex* Brown, orange, sand color 
and pale yellow orange* 



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3>* We also have Perfected harmony which is composed of two sets 
of complementaries* 

Dark colors are often changeable in combination with lighter tones - 
they sometimes appear darker, and one should give serious reflection to 
the value of the colors involved in a particular creation* 

Each color expresses a clear meaning; it is cold or it is warm* 
The scale may be divided into two parts from yellow to red violet 
(included); they are warm colors* Prom violet to yellow green, they are 
cool colors* 

Light tones are more expressive than dark ones; they seem to give 
an immediate feeling of gaiety, for ex* Yellow, while violet affects us 
differently, it is almost depressing in its sombre aspect. 

But colors follow the trend of current events, and are, in a large 
measure, influenced by minor incidents in the life of an important person- 
ality* Seasons have more or less discontinued to influence colors for 
dress, and one may observe that the various shades worn during the Winter 
months may also be in vogue during the Spring and even during the Summer, 
following, to a certain degree, the recent current events which are 
powerful in their symbolic meaning to influence and inspire the making 
of tones for fashions* 

Individual taste varies considerably in the matter of color and 
color combinations. But training and the knowledge of the laws of 
simultaneous contrast (Chevreul) helps one to select and follow the rules 
of color harmony. Under all circumstances, appropriateness and suitability 
in the preference of certain shades for dress, should form a background for 


the complexion, the eyes, and the hair of the wearer of this or that color 
In a frock* 

Hue, Value, and Intensity, perfectly balanced in harmonious effects, 
are generally the result of a scientific basic knowledge, and differ vastly 
from harmony in music which is more scientifically defined and much easier 
to master* The two Arts, however, both awake in people the same feeling 
of pleasure or pain* 

A certain scheme of color is bound to produce that agreeable or 
disagreeable sensation when it first meets the eye; however, it may be - 
it is beautiful or just satisfactory, hence the reason actresses, singers* 
and public speakers attach so much importance and significance to the 
impression they may create with the manner in which they dress* 

It is said that a blonde may wear as many as U80 shades, while 
her sister, the brunette, has 370; the red or Titian hair girl may take 
her choice among a range of about 300 shades* The gray haired matron may 
pick out 280 warm or cool different tones* 

Yellow - is cheerful, light and gay* 

Orange - warmth, being quite often a real stimulant* 

Red - excitement, heat and irritation* 

Violet - sombre and dignified; often expresses a certain amount 
of sadness* It is also used for mourning* 

Blue - possesses the quality of sweetness though rather cold* 
Its expression of purity has caused the artists of many periods, princi- 
pally the Renaissance, to use it lavishly for the Virgin and classical 
art in general* 

White - containing all colors, may be considered becoming to all 

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types of personality in its powerful meaning of purity. Although white 
is not listed among the colors of the scale, it is used profusely; it 
magnifies, however, all persons and objects* 

Black - in its absence of all tones, means sadness, grief and 
despair; it is used for deep mourning, but also occupies an important place 
in the fashion world. It is rather powerful in its ability of reducing the 
figure, hence, the popularity of black being worn in all seasons and 

N eutra l ized tones are powerless in their respective meaning and 
characterization, but they are used constantly in combination with vivid 

The question of color arrangements, however, always remains a com- 
plicated sort of controversy in all art productions (beautiful costumes 
are artistic productions) when the aim of pleasing the eye of the public 
remains in the balance* The trained colorist is well aware of that 
sensation of disturbance or of pleasure, caused by the grouping of the 
new colors on the modes launched by the great designers, and the desire 
of every creator of fashions is to please, hence, to discover the reaction 
of the public, at the various fashion shows* 

There is apparently no limit to the vast number of fancy and odd 
names given to the new colors and nuances built up of pure colors either 
slightly neutralized or mixed with another brilliant hue. It is advised 
that the student make a systematic study of the new tones analyzing every 
one while using them on their designs. The blues may be Navy, Marine, 
Oxford, Royal, Stratosphere, Copenhagen, Belgian, Gorbeau, Cornflower, 
Delf, Alice, Ciel, Watteau, Grotto, Sapphire, Yale, Raven, Turquoise, etc. 


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Red may be Flame, American Beauty, Tomato, Cerise, Begonia, Poppy, Cardinal, 
Bordeaux, Coquelicot, Beetroot, Ruby, Wine, Claret, Jacque, LaBelle France, 
etc., and the numerous rose colors, such as Old Rose, Geranium, Flesh, 
Coral, Jersey Peach, Raspberry, Tango, Cranberry, Brick, etc. Yellow pre- 
sents no end of variety, among which are Canary, Gold, Mais, Brass, Mustard, 
Blidor, Cream, etc* Green may be Battle, Nile, Saga, Reseda, Olive, Prairie, 
Russian, Myrtle, Empire, Emerald, Epinard, Laurier, Forest Green, Dark Green* 
Violet is a color that has given many gorgeous shades of Lavender, Orchid, 
Lilac, then Purple, Amethyst, Wisteria, EVeque, Regrets, Prune, Plum. As 
for the Orange, it comprises all the beautiful shades of light orange 
neutralized or mixed with the complementary color such as the many browns, 
only to name a few - Tabac, Spice, Mar ran, Panama, Seal* The lighter 
shades - Regent, Castor, Panama, New Tan, Champagne, Fawn, Beige, Beach Sand. 

The names of new shades are generally inspired by some important 
current event or by an art exhibit of leading and prominent artists, and 
there is no limited extent to the mixing possibilities of the various 
colors. Certain colors are extremely popular, and there is a marked 
tendency to wear these unusual tones at the beginning of every season* 
Until a certain time, Canary Yellow as a color for gowns had not been 
in favor. A manufacturer of Lyons, France, conceived the idea to launch 
velvet of that hue on the Parisian market. Unfortunately, the merchants 
refused to buy this velvet on the ground that French women would not wear 
such a shade. A factory filled with goods that would not sell meant ruin 
for this bold Frenchman but he suddenly became inspired with a brilliant 
idea. He went to Paris and interviewed the most popular actress in France* 


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In his predicament, he inspired her to take enough velvet for a dress which 
she would wear on the stage. The sensation that she created when she 
appeared in a gown of this odd color may be imagined when every woman In 
Paris wanted to wear Canary Yellow* The manufacturer's fortune was made 
as this fashion swept Europe and came to the United States. 


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The question often arises, "How does a fashion originate?" In 
reply, we can say, that anything and everything may be the cause — a 
popular play, art exhibit, new movie star, current happenings In war and 
peace, but the standard influence is the history of costume itself. 
Without copying their modes of dress exactly, great designers habitually 
turn to the costumes of our ancestors for inspiration. 

As a matter of fact, never does one know in advance from where 
fashion will borrow its main lines for the next season* A variety of 
circumstances may influence it* Just now, for instance, in 19!>3j we have 
two conflicting modes of silhouette: A wide, full skirt, and at the same 
time a narrow effect. This full skirt may quite possibly be the influence 
of our present prosperity, the narrow effect, an effort to maintain a sylph- 
like appearance* 

Subjects to be analyzed: 

a* The present trend of style, 
b. Radical changes* 
c* National current events 
d* Symbolism* 
a. The Present Trend of Style 

A study of present trends in style is of uppermost importance. 
The appearance of novelty must be obvious, but what were the steps taken to 
create it? One must, to find this out, visit with sketch book in hand, 


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the most up-to-date dress shops; read regularly the latest fashion articles; 
know the names and characteristics of the great fashion designers of Paris, 
New York, and Hollywood, and acquaint oneself with their new lines and 
colors • 

b. Radical Changes 

Analyze the main lines of the new radical change . No one, not even 
the professional coutourier, will dare to create a garment that differs 
entirely in its general lines from the particular year's style, and these 
general lines remain the principal characteristic of costume. To make our 
analysis, then, we must first be fully acquainted with the four main points 
in this latest fashion, thus: 

The neckline - Is it low, high, pointed, round, square, "bateau," etc* 

The sleeves - Are they long, short, plain or puffy? 

The waistline - Is it high, normal, or low? 

The skirt - Is it long, short, full, wide, narrow, trimmed or plain? 

Remember that these principal characteristics of costume - neckline, 
sleeves, waistline, skirt, constitute the silhouette, and a change in silhou- 
ette means a change of style. For example, let us analyze Dior's "new look" 
of 19 U7* The neckline continued to be low except for certain occasions, 
and, in any case, was not exaggerated* It was glamorized and elegant* 

It was the skirt, long and wide, that made the true radical change 
which people, in 19 U7, called "the new look." The waistline remained 
normal and very tight, raising the bust resembling Directoire period 
without, however, being called "Directoire*" No looseness at all was dis- 
played in the bodice, the darts gave an effect of Renaissance fashion. The 


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sleeve, whether short or long, set in or kimono, remained more as during the 
last years of the War except that the "shoulder pads" were less voluminous, 
£• National Current Events 

These always play an important part in clothes designing. After 
World War II, as indeed, after any war, daring and extravagant gorgeous new 
fabrics dyed bright hues, expressed the rising spirits of people. 

In Boston, in 1°U6, Filene's "Fashion Train," which was to call 
public attention to the importance of the textile industry in New England, 
created a sensation with designs inspired by New England history as "the 
central theme." But whatever the reason for a fashion or clothes exhibit 
of any kind, the future costume designer should always attend them to note 
the "new wrinkle, " fad, colors, combination of fabrics and trimmings, all 
of which are essential in creating the chic frock. 

The influence of National events on dress design is strikingly illus- 
trated by the fact that the two World Wars in which our country entered 
decisively the global arena for the first time as a world power, released 
our fashion makers and followers from a too slavish adherence to the fashion 
dictates from abroad. Before 19lU our women lacked individuality in dress. 
Indeed, a kind of monotonous uniformity existed. When, in the fashions from 
Paris radical changes appeared, such as the hobble skirt, the unwritten law 
in our country was that our feminine world must abide by the change. Conse- 
quently, women were often petrified by the extremely new. They hesitated 
to adopt it at once lest they look too stylish and odd, yet in adopting the 
radical change they felt they must do so to the least detail, changing 
nothing whatsoever in line, color, or trimming. Today, so far have our 


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^ costumers gone in "initiative" that they create various adjuncts which often 

make the entire gown appear as an original design. In any case, our women 
now may act independently in the designing field, provided they follow the 
main lines launched by the great fashion designers of Paris and New York, 
d. Symbolism 

This is about the hardest matter to realize in the fashion field 
because it is so abstract. It doesn't lend itself easily to analysis and 
is still less easy to describe. But it exists and has always been very 
obvious. The most definite means of conveying it is through colors. 
This is where a study of tone psychology comes in. When, in 19h$> the 
United Nations was uppermost in our thoughts, the colors in vogue were 
blue and white. At the President's inauguration January 19h9 9 the tints 
dominating feminine fashion expressed cheerfulness. 

At the end of any conflict, such as war, or an affair of widespread 
interest, a remarkable display of symbolic designs on various materials 
testify to the interest that had been aroused. La mode at such times favors 
all kinds of odd emblems on our great variety of fabrics. These unique 
designs are significant of the passing event. For instance, in 1914-9, when 
we had an eclipse of the moon, there appeared on dress materials motifs of 
the moon, stars, and even a comet to represent our interest in heavenly 
happenings. During World War I many textiles had stars as their main 
design unit not, this time, because of phenomena in the sky, but because 
we Americans had just joined the Allies in the global conflict. Another 
example is the large, clear-cut designs of figured and flowered materials 
which were brought about by the popularity of Modern Art. These large 



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figures had no shadows* The color harmony, as one might expect, was a 
dominant scheme with an occasional contrasting background. 

To sum up, whatever the reason for a symbol in a design may be, the 
custom of using symbolism is of long standing and persists right along in 
the designing field. Ebc.- The black bow as a headdress of the Alsatian 
costume was added in 1370 as a symbol of sadness at the loss of the 
Provinces, Alsace and Lorraine to Germany. 


Decoration, ornamentation, adornment, or trimming used in the manu- 
facturing of women 1 s attire play an important part in the designing of a 
gown, a hat, or even a coat. 

Of course, trimming, as we commonly call all decorations on women * s 
dresses, vary considerably in their particular kind. They add a great deal 
to the style or even to the beauty of feminine clothes, but of all adorn- 
ments used, lace and embroidery were and still are the most popular in the 
wide field of decorative art - ribbons, buckles, and braid at certain 
periods of costume history proved to have been the main accent of a fashion- 
able frock. However, tucks and shirring, also smocking have been and are 
still used extensively in the trimming of gowns, especially when the dress 
is made of thin and expensive fabrics; now and then shirring may take the 
place of extra fullness, but in this case it quite often adds charm and a 
feminine touch to a garment. Ruffles form an attractive addition on a 
plain bodice or even to an entire dainty frock. They have been used for 
centuries, not only on women* s clothes, but on me^s attire which was 
elaborately adorned with lace ruffles on the neck and the sleeves. 


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As for tucks,- straight, single, in clusters, on the bias or on the 
length or width of the material - they sometimes form the only decoration 
of an original and costly gown. If on the bias, tucks used in a cluster 
follow a definite and artistic pattern or design. Smocking is still used 
on children's clothes - it is beautiful and varies considerably in design. 

Braid, which was used extensively for military purposes, became 
extremely a la mode on feminine clothes during the end of the nineteenth 
Century after the innovation of the sewing machine when an entire bodice 
was practically covered with this trimming. Bows of ribbon are beautiful 
and still stylish on some parts of a gown, not as much, of course, as 
during the Seventeenth Century when ribbon was used everywhere on the dress. 

As for buttons and buckles, they date back very far in the history 
of Costumes - both formed a part of Greek and Roman attire when they were 
used as fasteners, and during the Tenth Century in Europe buttons became 
essential as garments of both sexes were more or less fitted to the body. 
Later, however, during the Renaissance Period, buttons were classed among 
the luxuries of high-rank people and were then made of gold, silver, ivory, 
and even of jewels. During the reign of Elizabeth I, of England, buttons 
turned out to be a most important British industry. Buttons were then, 
and are still, made of every imaginable material - bene, glass, paper, 
fabrics, and even coins. It may be of interest to note here that the 
discovery of lovely shells in Iowa (Mississippi River) led to the intro- 
duction and manufacturing of beautiful pearl buttons (1890), In China 
the rank of a person was shown by the buttons on hats* 

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feminine clothes. It antedated that of weaving, as skins of animals that 
were found in caves, were decorated with shells and feathers,- in fact, it 
is said that the needle may have been in usage before the brush. Embroid- 
ered wrappings of Egyptian mummies were attractive and apparently done with 

In France and England, ladies of quality, practiced the art of 
needlework as an agreeable pastime. During the Crusades, knights had their 
heraldic devices embroidered by their wives. As we read in the history of 
Costumes, sometime in the fourteenth century, the coat of arms of the 
husband or of the father (of the unmarried women) were always embroidered 
on the full skirts of that period. 

During the reign of Louis XIV (of France - Seventeenth Century), 
certain rooms of his palace were put aside for workers in the delicate art 
of needle work. France and Ireland enjoy the reputation of having been 
especially famous for embroidered lingeries, England for eyelet work, and 
Italy for its cut work, while Madeira embroidery comes from several 

As much as people in general love handwork, the machine has now 
replaced this old-fashioned kind of labor. In some instances, in fact, it 
is almost impossible to tell at a glance that this special kind of 
embroidery was machine-roade, so perfect are the machines that manufacture it. 

Lace certainly takes the lead in the matter of beautiful trimmings. 
It has also been the most popular - at present, however, it is not used 
very much on gowns, and unfortunately real lace seems to have disappeared 
from the market. Like embroidery, it is very old and a form of lace was 
t even found on the wrappings of Egyptian mummies. What we understand by 


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lace is a kind of openwork arranged in pattern or design with interwoven 
threads. The early Christians also made lace that was done with the use of 
the needle, this kind of decoration lasted through the Middle Ages. But, 
it was really during the Renaissance that lace became a real industry, 
although crocheting (looping in a pattern), even genuine needlepoint had 
developed in Italy as early as during the thirteenth century. 

There are numerous kinds of lace such as Valenciennes, Cluny, 
Duchesse, Point d'Alencon, etc. - the list is too long to mention here, but 
the best known were really the Valencienne, the Cluny, the Chantilly, the 
filet and the Irish laces. We might here mention the torchon which resembles 
the Cluny, though much coarser, and it was used extensively by the peasants 
of European countries on their apron and bodices. For a great many years 
berthas of real Duchesse or rosepoint were very stylish, and even recently 
brides of old American families proudly trimmed their wedding gowns with 
this (now) rare adornment. Not so long ago, Irish and filet laces were 
quite stylish on white voile blouses. Princess lace which is a kind of 
braid arranged in a pattern and united with needlework was extremely stylish 
at the beginning of the twentieth century when even entire blouses were made 
of it. 

At present, what we mostly see are imitation laces manufactured in 
large quantities. Machine-made lace first appeared in the latter part of 
the eighteenth century, and in 1813 a bobbinet machine was perfected. Some- 
times it is difficult to tell if the lace is real or imitation. Real lace 
making is practically a lost art. Lace, of course, is used a great deal 
for curtains, doilies, etc., but at present (1°5U) lace trimming is really 


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not a la mode. Chantilly and Valencienne (ijaitation) were used as recently 
as 1937 and 19li3 on gowns. In fact, whole gowns of imitation silk thread 
Chantilly lace were in vogue in 1937 and I9U8, dyed various colors. 

There used to be one kind of trimming that seems to have completely 
disappeared, and that was faggoting, it was especially popular during the 
beginning of the twentieth century. First, it was entirely done by hand, 
then pretty soon one could buy it by the yard in department stores, it was 
so well done that very few people could tell the difference, except that 
handmade faggoting was more varied, A few illustrations (handmade) may 
give the reader an idea of this unique and very attractive decollation. 

National Costumes 
What is generally called Peasant Costume fails to express in a 
definite way, the various and original costumes still worn in some European 

Picturesque and quite often beautiful, the National costume dis- 
closes and displays the life of the country it represents, symbolic 
decorations with National colors emphasize the local influence. 

These original costumes, though cut on practically the same lines - 
wide skirt, full sleeves, apron, etc,, differ vastly in the style of the 
bodice, and of the headgear. The embroidery is also nearly always typical 
of varied inspirations caused by religious and traditional influences. 

However, our modern way of life may possibly be an important 
factor in the disappearance of those charming primitive dresses which are 
occasionally a source of inspiration for designers of current fashions. 
Among the most elaborate ones still worn on festive holidays in France, 


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are those of Brittany and Normandy, It appears as if the feminine population 
of the various provinces of France (rather conservative) love to cling to 
this mode of dressing which expresses their innate love and respect for 
their traditions. 

It is difficult to establish definitely what period these unique 
modes were designed. Some are made of silk, wool, and velvet, with fine 
linen aprons and caps, trimmed with real lace. It is to be presumed that 
ideas and inspirations were exchanged from the East to the West, when 
commerce began to be such an important factor for the various countries of 
Europe o 

A surprising fact to note is that when almost every country of 
Europe produced National costumes for both men and women, England remained 
with no sign of an original attire which might be called "British costume. " 
Yet, very few countries of the Continent can boast of so many traditions 
and with a reputation of conservatism unequalled by other nations. 


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msoi 2] 


I have divided this resume History of Costumes into four distinct 


I* Costumes of Antiquity (A # D ) which we leam were all 
more or less long tunics with draperies - Egyptian, 
Assyrian, Greek, and Roman* 

2* The costumes of the early Christian Era and of the 
Middle Ages to the end of the XV Century* 

3« Renaissance up to the end of the XIX Century, when 

dress changed and its evolution brought about complete 
tran sf oraation • 

h» This period from the end of the XIX Century is the one 
that really began in the decade 1&70-1880 up to the 
present time (19 53) when drastic changes of sleeves, 
skirts, and neckline took place almost every year, 
along with the extraordinary advent of the new textiles. 
From the turn of the Twentieth Century (1900), this History of 
Costume is in the form of a diary, containing the highlights of style 
only, written in the present tense© 


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EGYPTIAN COSTUME - The art and monuments of ancient Egypt picture 
the daily life and exploits of some of her great kings rather than tell 
her history connectedly, but we do know that this history goes far back 
into the past. We know, for instance, that 20£U years before Christ, 
Abraham and Sarah found in Egypt a high state of civilization* Historians 
tell us that the Egyptians were a tall, slender people resembling the pre- 
sent natives of Nubia, had broad shoulders, long muscular arms, rather 
long, delicate hands, and had dark hair. They seem to have gone barefoot 
and they wore wigs. The British Museum possesses original ones made of 
real hair which were worn by the upper class. Wigs for the lower class 
were made of wool. Whether Egyptian ladies as well as the men wore wigs 
or braided their hair we do not know so certainly. 

We do know that the Egyptians were fond of dress and paid a great 
deal of attention to the care and adornment of their bodies. The excava- 
tions of 1912 by Dr. Reisner (paintings by Joseph Linden Smith) brought to 
light a large number of Egyptian statues and other objects that added 
precious wealth to the study of Egyptian art and history. From such 
statues in the great museums of the world we have a fair idea of what 
people wore during the brilliant dynasty founded by Tholmes I. Both 





sexes seem to have worn the same type of garment. The costume seems to 
have consisted of four different modes - the tunic, the robe, the skirt 
(usually finely pleated) with or without a cape in the style of a shawl 
or drapery* The earliest type seems to have been the tunic, then the robe 
and skirt, and last, appears the draped shawl. 

The materials of their dress were linen and cotton. Sometimes this 
was of a muslin so fine as to be transparent. This muslin was similar to 
that made by the tribes of the earliest period. The tunic or dress was 
generally long but sometimes short in front and often trimmed with fringe. 
White was the favorite color although other tints were used. With these 
costumes the Egyptians wore a profusion of jewelry, of which the Boston 
Art Museum possesses a wonderful collection. Judging from these exhibits 
their jewelry was very beautiful and some of it exquisitely delicate in 
design. It is interesting to note that this ancient Egyptian jewelry has 
inspired in large measure our modern costume jewelry. 

GREEK COSTUME - The Greek Gostume remains about the most artistic 
dress in history. It was simple in lines, but the elegance of its drap- 
eries cannot be surpassed even today. 

In their costume, as in their decoration, the Greeks achieved the 
maximum of symmetry and proportion. They considered the care of their 
bodies the main preparation for dress. Hygiene being an important factor 
in their lives, after a daily bath the Greek women, and also the men, 
used fragrant oils and other perfumes profusely. 

Their garments, which were based on the circle and the rectangle, 
were gracefully draped around their perfectly developed figures with 


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thoughtful consideration. The materials usually woven by the Greek women 
were mostly wool and flaxen stuff dyed various colors. 

Jewelry, worn with considerable limitation, consisted of bracelets, 
pins, necklaces, and mitres for the hair. The headdress was a sort of cap 
held with a band. Their long braided hair fell in the back, 

ROMAN COSTUME - The Toga was the national costume of the Romans 
who preferred sumptuousness to the real beauty of line and grace. It was 
made mostly of wool which was dyed many beautiful shades of blue, green, 
yellow, and red, but the Toga was also often wom in its natural yellowish 
color or sometimes bleached. 

Their jewels consisted of necklaces, bracelets, and rings which were 
made of gold and silver, and even of the base metals; semi-precious stones 
were sometimes used. However, their jewels emphasized the rank of the women 
who wore them, A difference in the hair-do was also noticed between the 
classes, as the slaves wore their hair short while the high class ladies 
kept their hair very long. 


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MEROVINGIAN, V CENTURY - Historians tell us that the costumes 
generally worn by women of that time were rather simple in lines, but very 
often made of rich material and fine tissue* Veils continued to be in 
favor - noble ladies wore long onesj while women of lower rank, short. The 
gowns almost touched the ground; the sleeves were tight fitting on the first 
tunic, but large ones were worn on the outer garment. Textiles and fabrics 
were woven in attractive patterns, mostly symbolic in nature, and dyed 
various gorgeous hues, rather vivid, such as red, blue, and purple. 

The name "Merovingian n comes from King Merovee who reigned over the 
"Saliennes" tribes from UU8 to and who also gave his name to the first 
dynasty of French kings* However, Clovis (U81-511) is considered the real 
founder of the first dynasty which lasted until 752. During that period 
dress was regulated by the rank of the people. No one of the lower classes 
followed the style of dress worn by the nobles whose costumes, made of beau- 
tiful fabrics, were elaborately embroidered. A person of nobility always 
had a purse attached to her belt into which she kept the money to be distrib- 
uted to the poor. It is to be noted that long hair at that time was a sign 
of royal authority, the lower classes being forced to cut their hair, at 
least in the back. 



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CAROLBJGIAN - VIII Century - King Charlemagne (Emperor of the Orient) 
is often represented on pictures in sumptuous attire, but, as a matter of 
fact, he condemned extravagance and luxury, protesting severely against the 
marked excess of rich materials worn by his noblemen on all occasions* 

Women's dress continued to be simple in lines but elaborately 
embroidered, the material often transparent, and long enough to conceal the 
feet* It is said that one of the King's (Charlemagne) daughters was lame; 
hence the reason for the extreme length of women's skirts* The fashion of 
veils continued to be in favor for all classes of women, long ones by the 
nobles and shorter ones by the lower classes* 

The following anecdote may show how that great king condemned 
extravagance* One day, he invited a group of noblemen to go hunting with 
him* They all came dressed in exquisite garments of fine materials trimmed 
with peacock feathers* He was simply attired with a lambskin coat* He 
then led them among branches and thorns; consequently, their lovely mantles 
were all torn and spoiled by the rain that unfortunately fell in torrents 
to add to their troubles* Charlemagne, comfortably dressed for that 
occasion, showed them how foolish they had been to come to the hunt attired 
as they were* His reign brought about a period of simple living in every 
phase of life* All the various tribes living on the Continent of Europe, 
also in England, dressed similarly; the rank of the wearer regulated the 
type of garment for both men and women* Certain inventions, such as the 
cane, date back to that great Monarch, 

CAPET IAN COSTUME - X Century - After the reign of Charlemagne, the 
whole style of dress changed and splendor was quite obvious, even in the 

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manner of living. The name "Capetian" originally came frcm the French king's 
name, Hugues Capet, who reigned from 987-996. 

The Capetian costume of both men and women resembled a long mantle 
worn over a long dress with a low belt, a garment called the "Cotte-hardie" 
was practically the same for both men and women, the only difference being 
that it opened on one side for the m^n, and in front for the women. Quite 
remarkable as a change was the V-«eck replacing the high neckline. As for 
the sleeves, they were long and tight fitting. The close fitting band around 
the head held the veil in place. A long braid of hair falling over the left 
shoulder was the general style of coiffure which was regulated by the 
nobility who still dressed in an entirely different manner from the lower 
classes. It is said that wooden shoes were replaced by softer leather ones, 
often adorned with gold buckles, which were also placed on the garments of 
the high class people. 


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XI CENTURY - Simplicity of costume during the first part of this 
period exemplified the great misery existing in France at that time (famine 
of 1033) and the trend of costume in general (even in other parts of 
Europe) followed the same lines as during the Capetian epoch - long dresses, 
long sleeves, V-neck, low belts. For the men, the two tunics that had been 
worn in the preceding century continued to be in favor, and the mantles were 
nearly always trimmed with fringe. However, certain luxuries such as gold 
clasps, precious stones for the belt, also gold "galloons" on their shoes, 
remained as characteristics of a gentleman^ attire. 

Because of the love of finery and personal appearance, even eardrops 
and pendants of gold attached to their mantle were often observed among the 
higher class. 

The good King, Robert II of France (the Pious King, 996-1031), often 
invited beggars to a feast of some kind. These poor men, under the table as 
was the custom then, were enjoying what was given to them. One day, by 
accident, one of these unfortunate "guests" cut the fringe of the royal 
mantle with his knife; historians tell us that the King smiled and said, 
"Please do not cut all of my fringe, leave some for your companions to cut." 

Later, the Normans who followed William the Conquerer (1066) in 
England, changed the simple lines of dress to a different style with more 
variety and elegance, such as the beautiful draperies adopted by the Norman 


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ladies. Clothes became also more comfortable as the shoulders and bust were 
unrestricted. Falling in graceful folds around the legs, skirts were still 
very long. 

XII CENTURY - With the advent of a certain Bourgeois class and the 
great movement of the Crusades which had already begun (year IO96), the 
tendency toward the \in relaxing of various rules affected all classes of 
society, and costumes for both men and women underwent a complete change. 
The symbol of the cross was seen everywhere on garments 3 this remarkable 
ornament was white, red, or green, according to the national taste of the 
wearer. People looked uncomfortable dressed "a la mode," and the complete 
attire of women was rather stiff worn over an undergarment called "corse" 
(laced in back). It was during that tine, however, that a marked modesty 
overtook women who wore a guimpe to hide their bust, appearing more like 
nuns than ladies of leisure. Noticeable as another interesting feature 
was the parti-colored sleeves which were green and red on white tunics. 

From the East, rich colorful materials were imported, velvets, 
silks, cloth woven with gold and silver threads in beautiful and artistic 
patterns. A certain dignity of attitude disclosed itself as the Byzantine 
modes were introduced and generally accepted. But the marked extravagance 
of the people caused the clergy to protest. The long hair of men (who 
resembled women) was also condemned by the church authorities. Men often 
wore white while women chose among a wider range of colors - blue, yellow, 
red, or orange. Artistic designs as a border, offered a pleasing effect 
on the mantle called pallium. 

XIII CENTURY (St. Louis IX, 1226-1270) - A whole volume might be 
written about Louis IX and his wonderful reign, directly or indirectly 


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linked with the mode of dress for both men and women, civil, military, and 
religious. An important factor remains in the competition that began among 
all classes of society. Everyone enjoyed dressing up; even peasants 
delighted in wearing various costumes during the performance of their duties 
Skirts, each one more elaborate in its style than the other, were called 
"cotte" and "surcot # " From the belt a purse was hung with money to be dis- 
tributed to the poor, and women 1 s skirts still trailed the ground* 

Women's hair was brought to the back in a 'Vshignon" entirely covered 
with a fine net, and veils were still in favor among the nobility. A most 
interesting feature of that century was the price of materials which was 
regulated by the authorities in three definite rates, 2£-cents an aune 
(equal to U6 inches) was considered a fair price for Lords and very high 
class people; 18-cents for the lower nobility; while 16-cents an aune was 
the maximum, peasants and the lower class were allowed to pay. Social dis- 
tinction could be observed by the general attire of the people. 

XIV CENTURY - As we discuss the important characteristics of this 
period, the refinement that both men and women exercised in the choice of 
their costume makes this era all the more interesting. It was also during 
this epoch that women's dress underwent a great change from that of the men* 
The beauty of the small waist was discovered by the French ladies who began 
tight lacing their stiff corset that had just been invented - (it is said 
that the British were responsible for this innovation) a mode that was 
copied by every European nation. Rather full, and falling gracefully in 
folds, the skirts were a little shorter, showing a pointed shoe made of 
rich material. The coat-of-arms of both father and husband were 


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elaborately embroidered on the skirts, and a gown always had two pairs of 
sleeves trimmed with fur like the bodice (generally ermine), the first pair 
being tight fitting, whereas the other was wide and lined with contrasting 
colored fabric. Because of this expensive style the price of a second pair 
was often discussed among members of the family. Adorned with gold and 
silver embroidery, enriched with precious stones, the belts proved to be a 
very costly and extravagant fashion* Men nearly always designed their 
wives* dresses* It is said that the British were blamed for introducing 
all that luxury into France. 

With long hair over their shoulders, women completed their hairdo 
with a jewelled band similar to the belts of their dresses. A decolletage 
rather low and generally round featured the neckline. The rich tissues 
beautifully dyed orange, peacock blue, red and yellow, continued to be used 

XV CENTURY (Charles VII-U422) - In spite of the British occupation 
of France and the hundred year war, no one seemed to have lost his love and 
interest in clothes. Both men and women rivalled in their extravagance, 
but women surprised the men with the originality of their headdress. Neck- 
laces were a part of women's costumes, and trimmings still consisted of 
fur (ermine), a fichu of muslin, and the gorgeous belt worn during the end 
of the XIV Century. 

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head covering known as the "Hennin" and the "Scoff ion" composed of a round 
or conical shaped wire frames over which a long veil spread out. These 
ridiculous fashions, though severely criticized by the church authorities, 


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continued until the end of the Century when more practical and modest ones 
replaced these eccentricities. It is said that they were designed by a 
French lady (Agnes Sorel, sumamed "La Dame de Beaute" (Lady of Beauty)* 
The good influence that she exercised on Charles VII is an historic fact 
pertaining to that period and its Monarch whose reign cannot very well be 

Shoes for both men and women were still narrow, pointed, and 
extremely uncomfortable, but people walked as little as possible, except the 
peasants and the lower classes whose manner of dress scarcely changed through 
the centuries. The Transition Period brought about many drastic changes in 
dress and in the general mode of living© 

Toward the end of the XV Century, women's desire to appear at their 
best in all circumstances made them dress so elaborately at the time of 
childbirth, that people laughingly mentioned the fact that a young mother 
looked more like an "idol" attired in such a strange costume. Dressed with 
a gorgeous bed jacket, trimmed with gold and silver embroidery, she wore a 
fantastic headdress* Gold necklace and bracelet completed that unusual 
"toilette*" Both men and women endeavored to surpass each other in the 
splendor of their particular attire* Lace, which had been used since the 
XIII Century, became a favorite trimmingo Beautifully designed handmade 
lace of fine linen threads was made in Italy (its birthplace), Spain, 
Flanders, France and England. Several novelties such as the parasol, the 
fan, and the silk ribbon, appeared during the beginning of this epoch. 

The Fine Arts, always closely related to the evolution of the 
fashions continued to progress as the Renaissance period drew near, and 
many painters were already famous - Fra Filippo Lippi ( II4O6-II169) , 


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Ghirlandajo (1UU9-1U98), Botticelli (lWtf-lSlO), Leonardo da Vinci (11^2- 
1$19), Andrea del Sarto (U486-153D, etc., in Italy; Jan Van Eyck (? - lUl^)), 
Van der Weyden ( ll400-ll|6U) » in Flanders; also others in various countries 
of Europe* 


-S«iliX) XoatV &b ob'ip, road t (OIc.I— iVUil) iSSaoJi&icdi. % \b^iil"^^4iS.) Ogll 





Costumes in Europe - Costume Transformation (Charles VIII 1U83) 

The Renaissance (Francois I l£l£) 

Ehd of XVIth Century - Henry IV of France. 


Of all the historic periods of civilization, the most Important is 
without any doubt the "Renaissance 11 in Europe, The end of the XVth Century 
which is called the Transition period marked an era never to be forgotten. 
The remarkable art movement influenced the modes of clothes for both men and 
women, and the drastic changes that occurred in the manner of dress were 
outstanding through the entire XVIth Century. 

In France, immediately after the death of Louis XI (II487), simplicity 
that had been noticed during the reign of that monarch was replaced by new 
and original lines. Eccentricities were joyfully put aside for more graceful 
effects. The gowns were quite elegant with long-waisted bodices rather than 
decolletage (low neck) and very full skirts looped up in a pretty fashion. 
Embroidery and jewels were occasionally placed on all parts of the costume. 

It was Charles VIII (11*83) who revolutionized the French modes after 
his trip to Italy where he was deeply impressed with the beauty and charm 
of the Italian ladies, whose attire was the most artistic in Europe. We are 
fortunate indeed to have the many superb portraits by Italian masters who 
left a wealth of material for historians to draw from* However, as the 
period advanced, extravagance and exaggeration gradually grew, and edicts 


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were published to regulate dress; velvet and silk were forbidden to certain 
classes of society, but orders were ignored, and excess continued. How- 
ever, until 1^26 women's attire followed more or less certain modes of the 
preceding century, and some of the colors remained practically the same. 

As the King of France, Francois I, displayed a love of luxury 
equalled only to his fondness for art, costumes for both men and women 
underwent remarkable changes, especially during the last years of his reign. 
Two distinct periods (for clothes) marked the reign of that great monarch. 
His Court was brilliant and details on women's dress increased as the years 
passed. A lady's toilette required quantities of jewels. Contrary to the 
first period when many women abstained from wearing too many jewels and were 
even averse to low neck lines, the decolletage became so low as to be 
imnodest} the necklaces and jewels were worr. in profusion. 

Francois I is known as the King who so encouraged the fine arts as 
to bring into France some of the best Italian artists, da Vinci, Cellini 
and Titian, whose beautiful portrait of Francois I hangs in the Louvre 
Museum in Paris. To that famous King is also attributed the progress of 
the extraordinary period of the Renaissance movement. Many odd, but con- 
sidered smart, innovations took place during the reign of that remarkable 
monarch, and credit is given to one of his "favorites" (La Belle Ferroniere). 
The small cap-shaped head dress finished in a point with the precious stone 
hanging on the forehead, which was inspired from Brittany's fashion, and 
both men and women's costumes became full of details complicated and still 
rather inspired by art. Bright hues, such as crimson, scarlet, and even 
orange, embroidered in gold and silver were characteristic of that era. 


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Shoes were generally made of velvet or silk to match the gown. 

Later, however, women 1 s dress changed to more elaborate lines, so 
exaggerated as to become grotesque. With a shorter bodice, the skirt was 
fuller all around and worn over an extremely large crinoline made of steel 
and whalebone - a silhouette far from resembling the beautiful lines that 
characterized the Greek and Roman garment. The Basquine ( overtrimmed 
skirt) and the Vertugade (hoop) may be classed as the most important parts 
of a woman's underclothes. These were made of lovely taffeta, often 
elaborately embroidered. It was due to this very large skirt worn then 
that a noble lady saved her cousin's life when he took refuge under this 
unusual garment (he was to be executed if found alive). The style of the 
ruff attributed to Catherine de Medici (wife of Henry II) became an extremely 
popular fashion; it was adopted not only in France and other countries of 
the Continent, but in England where the Court of Elizabeth could not be sur- 
passed in splendor. There were also Spanish capes and standing collars 
lavishly trimmed with beautiful handmade lace, A kerchief called "Georgia" 
was occasionally used to cover the shoulders. With these ruffs so high and 
stiff and apparently so much in the way, especially at meal time, people 
wondered how the Queen could possibly eat her soup comfortably. But one 
day, after hearing considerable gossip on that subject, she gave a dinner. 
When the servant brought in the "potage" she ordered a spoon with an 
extremely long handle, then demonstrated how easily she could manage to do 
away with France's favorite dish (soup) without spilling a drop on her 
"fraise" ruff* 

French ladies copied more or less the Italian styles which were 


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influenced by art. But the "Vertugadin" (hoop) came from Spain and caused 
no end of comment and sarcastic remarks* However, in spite of criticism, 
extravagance and luxury continued for a long period of time. Dress was 
regulated by law and edicts were published by Henry II with detailed 
regulations about gowns, head dress, wired sleeves, quality of material, 
jewels and precious stones, and also in regard to the propriety of dress 
for each class of society. The feminine Bourgeois class protested against 
these severe court orders, which were considered rather unfair* Under this 
King other edicts against importation were published in order to protect 
French manufacturers* No one but a Princess could wear such hues as 
crimson; even maids-of-honor were restricted in the choice of colors and 
of their clothes in general* As for the working women, silks and velvets 
were absolutely forbidden* 

Under Charles IX (l£60) severe edicts were renewed, but these rules 
were constantly broken and luxury continued for both sexes* All kinds of 
innovations marked that period of extravagance, among which the pocket for 
the watch recently invented. 

Women's skirts were fuller and trailing in the back* The smaller 
the waist the better, to render the straight front "de rigueur" then, 
women used an ivory or wooden flat stick (lame) like a bone in front of 
their waist* In spite of the extreme discomfort, ladies would not be 
without it 5 they were willing to suffer in order to look as they should 
"a la mode" j even men wore corsets* 

Henry III (15?U) - All these extravagant modes of this period are 
immortalized by the wonderful painting "Noces du due de Joyeuse" (at the 


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Louvre in Paris), Men and women were both exaggerated In all these details 
of their "toilette." 

Women's bodices finished in a longer point in front had a spare 
decolletage rather low with enormous sleeves; epaulettes emphasized the 
width of the shoulders* The skirts, however, closed in front, were 
shorter. The "fraise" (ruff) of lace was extremely high in the back 
All that extravagance was blamed on the celebrated Princess Marguerite de 
Valois (Henry II* s daughter) who surpassed everyone in her choice of 
fabrics and trimmings. She really designed her clothes and led the 
fashion for other women, 

END OF THE XVIth CENTURY - When Henry IV (1$89) ascended the throne 
of France, he immediately condemned all that extravagance characteristic 
of the previous period. His love of simplicity caused the reaction that 
occurred in the costumes of both men and women. This great King rejoiced 
in repeating the historic comment: "My predecessors have given you words 
only with their fine clothes, but with my gray outfit, I am all gold 
within," The extreme poverty of the population at that time was so great 
as to prompt a certain reserve among men and women of the upper class 
in exhibiting too much extravagance. It is even said by historians that 
any of the lower classes trying to follow and imitate the styles of the 
noble was severely punished by their own class. Ruffs, full skirts, lace, 
etc., were torn to pieces by enraged companions. Simplicity was supposed 
to be the keynote of that particular time. 

The fashions, however, were still lavishly trimmed with lace and 
made of gorgeous materials, colorful and elegant. The importance of 


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beautiful fabrics prompted a Frenchman by the name of Gayotte to introduce 
a silk woven with gold threads (silk was being manufactured in Lyons, 
France) . Henry IV rewarded him for his innovation by giving him a noble 

Colors were varied and numerous with several tones in one costume. 
The skirts were still very wide and held with the hoop. High collars of 
lace were worn until the end of the Century. Venetian and Florentine lace 
became "a la mode"; in fact it was so much in demand that their importation 
was forbidden to protect the French industry. Hairdo varied in style and 
curls were kept in place with a kind of mucilage. 



bos si rata 

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Lid - cfoovto- 




Costume of the XVII CENTURY (1600). Styles of the Courts 
(France and England) • Costume of the Pilgrims in America* 
Lace Manufacturing in Europe. Variety of Trimmings. 
Louis XIV (France). 


This series marks an epoch entirely different from the previous one. 
By the time Louis XIII (1610) ascended the throne of France, the general 
lines of women 1 s dresses had gone through remarkable alterations* Though 
still rich and elegant, the stiffness was replaced by soft and graceful 
lines, and the silhouette differed considerably. The front opening of 
the skirt, still full and long, offered a chance to show an underskirt of 
different fabric adorned with embroidery and elaborate trimming. 

The dignified look of women's gowns proved to be a contrast to the 
previous century's grotesque attire. The bodice, finished in a point but 
shorter, emphasized the tight lacing practiced then by all the ladies of 
quality. As the time passed, the collar, still quite high, was shaped 
like a fan. The sleeves, cut lengthwise, were rather puffy and adorned 
with bows of ribbon. 

As far as America was concerned, the first settlers who came in 
1620 dressed in the general European fashion. We quite often see a 
picture of the Puritan maiden dressed in gray - as a matter of fact, this 
is more or less exaggerated. Very simple in lines, its styles followed 


arid i e 

■ • 


*>eq*n'e saw ^jfl e 


the silhouette of the period. The material was homespun, the skirts were 
full and long, generally looped up on the sides and back to show a petti- 
coat of a fabric called Linsey-woolsey. 

There were very few colors used by our Puritan ancestors - chiefly 
brown and purple. But many reproductions of the period also show various 
other shades, such as crimson and blue. 

Elaborate clothes were soon adopted by both sexes, and French styles 
were very popular. The men, especially, were vain in the matter of clothes, 
and it is most amusing to read descriptions of men*s attire in the pub- 
lished letters of that memorable epoch. As for frivolity, American men 
were not different from their European brothers. The collar and cuffs for 
both men and women were made of Holland linen. For women a hood of silk 
or wool was generally worn with the outdoor costume. Strong shoes with 
wooden heels and woolen stockings were characteristic of the times. 

In France, the love of dress and finery continued in spite of edicts 
published by the King (Louis XIII). Fashion had brought about many whims 
such as the "Mouche" (a black patch) placed on women* s faces. Sometimes 
a small black mask was added to attract men's attention. Perfume was 
used extensively, also jewels were worn in profusion. Men also wore lace 
on their collars and tied their long hair with colored ribbons. 

Cardinal Richelieu, so important at the Court of France, did not 
approve of all this extravagance, and in 1633 Louis XIII issued a severe 
edict condemning women for their coquetry. Then followed a remarkable 
demonstration which was called "Pompe Funebre de la Mode" (fashion's 
funeral) • A radical change occurred which gave fashion more moderate 


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LOUIS XIV (16U3). There was at that time in France a strong desire 
for a change of style, not so much because of the inconsistency of the 
Court coquetry, but also for the reason that various phases of European 
civilization had changed considerably* So, during the reign of that great 
King, dress gradually regained its splendor and surpassed other periods* 

We are fortunate, indeed, that authentic information in regard to 
the styles, fabrics, and colors, of that remarkable epoch are furnished by 
the many illustrations (many portraits) that we find in the records of that 

Elegance in clothes for both men and women attained a high degree 
of gorgeousness, although feminine costumes, as a whole, affected a certain 
simplicity of lines. The skirts gracefully draped without hoops, were 
full, long, and trailing to the ground in the back only* Materials were 
rich, brocaded, and woven beautifully in artistic designs. Ribbon was 
everywhere and bows adorned the puffy effect of the skirt and sleeves. 
Two kinds of fabric and several tones were often used in one gown. The 
principal colors were green, yellow, blue, rose, lavender, orange and gray. 
The decolletage, not so low, varied in the style - round, square, and 
pointed - and the large collar partly covering the shoulders, was an 
innovation of the King*s mother (Anne of Austria). 

Lace became a very important decoration on clothes of both sexes. 
Sponsored by Colbert (Minister of Finance) a factory of that delicate 
trimming was opened in Paris in 1665* The French laces were so exquisite 
in design that they vied with those made in Belgium and Italy* The 
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to be put on the market, as everyone wanted their clothes adorned with lace. 
The towns that manufactured these were principally Alencon, Chateau-Thierry 
and Aurillac. 

The most interesting feature of Madame' s toilette was her hairdo 
which changed from time to time. Curls and wigs appeared along with the 
rouge that caused quite a sensation. Toward the end of Louis XIV* s reign, 
an original coiffure called "fontange" became the favorite among the 
ladies of the Court. The name came from Mademoiselle de Fontange whose 
hair became loose by accident during a hunting party. She conceived the 
idea of tying her curls with a ribbon and wear her hair in that fashion, 
which was immediately followed by other women. 

The majority of ladies' gowns were made by men couturiers. 

It is interesting to note that during that memorable epoch everyone 
wanted to look older in order to give an impression of wisdom. 

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Costumes of the XVIII Century (1700 to 1789) French, English 
and Colonial Modes • The Paniers, Extravagance of the XVIII 
Century, Styles of Sleeves, Coiffures. 


REGENCY AND LOUIS XV (France). Under several and various influences 
fashion changed rapidly, so much so that writers ridiculed these numerous 
new styles as the worst influence of the period. The difference from other 
epochs of history was the fact that everyone wanted to be well dressed, 
and confusion often existed in the case of a servant being taken for the 
master. The working class had reached a state of extravagance never 
attained before. Personal appearance seemed to have been the main charac- 
teristics of the time for both men and women. However, masculine attire 
suffered a change, lace and ribbons were given up. 

The skirts were full and puffed up in what was called the "panier" 
which dates back to 1718, although it is said to have been worn by the 
British ladies several years before, under the name of "hoop-petticoat • 11 
However, it is also mentioned that the theatre was actually responsible 
for that original mode. The panier, made over a foundation of whalebone 
tied with ribbon, was first worn by the upper class only, but, by a happy 
and much cheaper invention of the " foundation " by a French dressmaker, 
the lower class very soon copied the style sponsored by the Court. The 



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entire feminine costume was a most elaborate affair, even the corset was 
trimmed with little bouquets of flowers* 

Modes continued to be extravagant and complicated until the end of 
Louis XV* s reign* Lace collars, sometimes even fur collars, were worn 
during the Summer* 

Until 17^0, the hair had been worn low and generally powdered, but 
that style failed to last and a high hairdo appeared, forming a sort of 
crown around the forehead. Bather plain in back, the headdress, called a 
"crete," made of ribbon, was added to Madame 1 s coiffure* Bonnets were the 
most popular headgear and were followed later by straw hats* 

Make-up was generally worn by the majority of women; very few were 
opposed to this mode as no one wanted to look pale* This style became 
somewhat exaggerated, however, to the point of applying cosmetics to the 
corpse, as in the case of Henrietta (Louis XV «s daughter)* 

LOUIS XVI (177U) - It is to be presumed that Marie Antoinette led 
a style considered rather exaggerated and complicated* The King was very 
fond of simplicity, but the women of the Court introduced habits of extrav- 
agance which were followed throughout the country* The lower classes con- 
tinued to imitate the nobility, and the wife of a clerk or even of a 
butcher could easily be taken for a lady of the higher class, hence the 
general sumptuousness that marked the years before the French Revolution* 
The ordinary Frenchman felt that as long as he had paid his taxes, he 
should feel free to dress as he liked, and even run himself into debt if 
he so desired« 

The hoop had returned in different forms, also the dresses without 


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a belt -which were really the Watteau style* The "panier" continued to be 
featured on dressy frocks, and the "polonaise, " a short skirt composed of 
three parts, made its appearance. Toward the end of the period, English 
styles were brought into France. Inspired from the masculine attire, 
these modes were more or less tailor-made, although frills and furbelows 
failed to disappear entirely. "Robe a l'Anglaise, " composed of a short 
waist, low neck, and closed in front, the skirt deprived of trimming, was 
opened in front to show an underskirt occasionally trimmed. Revers and 
collars were also most fashionable. 

Headdress changed constantly, and a milliner called Mile. Bert in, 
created models, following to a certain extent the taste of Marie-Antoinette. 

It is almost to be regretted, however, that a record of such 
ridiculous fashion was kept, as the height of the absurd was attained by 
ladies of the Court. Their coiffure was extremely high, adorned with as 
many as six plumes, flowers, fruit, even birds, were often used; sometimes 
a miniature boat was perched on top of this strange M chapeau«" It is said 
that when the Queen appeared among the people one could hardly distinguish 
her features almost hidden by her elaborate headdress. 

As the Revolution was approaching, luxury failed to diminish in any 
way in spite of the extreme poverty of the lower classes. 

American Costume . Various modes reached America, and women of the 
colony dressed gorgeously. The fichu remained in style for a long period 
of time. It is said that both George and Martha Washington were fond of 
fine clothes. To realize how well American ladies of quality dressed, we 
have only to look at the portraits painted by American artists of that time 


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which emphasize the rich material, brocades, silks and satin, imported from 
Europe and China. The undergarment (petticoat) made of fine linen was 
elaborately trimmed with ruffles. The headgear was a hat worn over a cap. 
Shoes were rather fancy with high heels. 


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Costumes during the French Revolution and the Directoire Period. 
Martha Washington (1789-1797) Eccentricities in Dress. 
Designers of Clothes (France) Abigail Smith Adams (1797-1801) 


Daring the reign of terror, the patriots in revolt against the 
luxurious and extravagant living of the upper classes, took advantage of 
their influence in bringing about the drastic change that occurred in the 
general mode of dress. Tailornaade effect was emphasized and all frills 
and fullness in the skirts disappeared to be replaced by narrower and 
plainer onesj all adornment being entirely discarded. Very soon, however, 
the revolutionist clubs became greatly concerned in the matter of clothes, 
and it was even rumored that the Greek and Roman lines might be copied. 
But Louis David, a designer of high reputation, was given the responsibility 
of creating the right costume, practical and comfortable. 

With the Directoire period (1795 to 1799), black, which had been the 
popular color, was soon replaced by more vivid hues, such as rose, green, 
white with colored stripes, etc. Interest in clothes was revived, and 
love of finery and luxury prevailed in all classes of society. A marked 
exaggeration in every phase of women's attire went so far as to inspire 
several cartoonists, and these ladies of the Directoire period were called 
"merveilleuses" as a sort of sarcastic soubriquet. 

In 1796, a fashion magazine was edited by a man named Selleque. 
This publication called M Le Journal des Dames et des Modes" was acclaimed 



with enthusiartn. Feminine costume was quite graceful, but the skirts were 
extremely narrow, the silhouette being called "Umbrella cover silhouette." 
Made of thin fabric, often transparent, the frock3 were worn over a tight- 
fitting chemise only. The reason may have been economy, but it wa3 also 
the desire of showing the lovely feminine figure. 

The range of color became wider, but the favorite tones were 
lavender and yellow. 

With the end of the Directoire period, no radical change in the 
fashions for both sexes marked the termination of that remarkable era. 
The beginning of The Consulate (1799 to 180U) was to have a leader of 
styles in the person of Josephine Bonaparte. 


A few words of explanation seem apropos in regard to the dresses 
which form a valuable collection in the National Museum at Washington, 
D. C. commonly known as Smithsonian Institution* 

The precious heritage is composed of thirty-five manikins, repre- 
senting the many interesting ladies who have gracefully presided as 
hostesses of the White House during the Administration of thirty-three 
Presidents of the United States. These figures are dressed in the gowns 
the First Ladies wore at their husbands' inauguration or at certain other 
important social functions held at the Executive Mansion. Only through 
nunerous and strenuous efforts were these gowns obtained, for some had 
almost disappeared. 



>fIIX8 £ 


5 Jx r s I 


. ■■(■: 

This unusual assemblage was first shown to the public during 
Taft f s Administration, although the Smithsonian Institution itself dates 
back to 18U6. 

The First Ladies of the Land may not have been leaders of fashion 
and style, but they all dressed fashionably following European modes as 
much as it was possible. Curiously enough, down the years, one detail of 
dress, the Marie Antoinette fichu, seems to have been a perennial favorite 
with White House ladies. The majority of these gowns are made of rich 
materials suggesting the wealth and prosperity of the Nation, and often 
set a precedent for a certain color. Also, some of those First Ladies 
introduced a new style of hairdo. 



Martha Dandridge Cu*tis Washington 1789 - 1797 33 

Abigail Smith Adams 1797 - 1801 3U 

Martha Jefferson Randolph 1801 - 18C9 38 

(Jefferson^ daughter) 

Dorothy Payne Todd-Madison 1809 - 1817 39 

Elizabeth Kortright Monroe 1817 - 1825 hZ 

Maria Hester Monroe Gouverneur 1817 - 1825 U3 

(Daughter of President Monroe) 

Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams 1825 - 1829 ^3 

Emily Danelson (Niece of Mrs. Jackson) 1829 - I836 hh 

Sarah Yorke Jackson 1836 - 1837 hi 

Sarah Angelica Singleton Van Bur en 1838 - 181a U8 


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Jane Irwlii Findl*y 

(Mrs. James Findl&y) 



Julia Gardiner Tyler 


- 18U5 


Sarah Childress Polk 


- I8ii9 


Betty Taylor Bliss (Dandridge) 


- 1850 


Abigail Powers Fillmore 


- 1853 


Jane Applet on Pierce 


- 1857 


Harriet Lane Johnston 


- 1861 


Mary Todd Lincoln 


- 1865 


Martha Johnson Patterson 


- 1869 


Julia Dent Grant 


- 1877 


Lucy Webb Hayes 


- 1881 


Lucretia Rudolph Garfield 



Mary Arthur McElrcy 

(Presidents Sister) 


- 1885 


Frances Folsom Cleveland 

1886-1889 and 1893-1897 77 

Caroline Lavinia Scott Harrison 


- 1892 


Mary Harrison McKee 

(President's daughter) 


- 1893 


Ida Saxton McKinley 


- 1901 


Edith Kermit Car err Roosevelt 


- 1909 


Helen Herron Taft 


- 1913 


EUen Axson Wilson 


- 193it 


Edith Bolline: Wilson 


- 1921 


Florence Kling Harding 


- 1923 


Grace Goodhue Coolidge 


- 1929 








Lou Henry Hoover 

Anna Eleanor Roosevelt 

Bess Wallace Truman 

Mamie Dowd Eisenhower 

Queen Elizabeth II of fh gland 

1V29 - 1933 
1933 - 191*5 
19h$ - 1952 



Before and after the American Revolution, the styles that came from 
Eh gland and France remained practically the same for a long time. The 
woolen tissues (cashmere mostly) and silks were exquisite, of the best 
quality. During the revolution, however, even ladies of the higher classes 
wore made-over dresses. In these days of uncertainty and indecision, the 
majority of American women knew how to use the needle in many different 
ways; they still used the spinning wheel, weaving remaining an important 
occupation of the household* 

The French revolution (1789) interfered considerably with the 
importation of beautiful silks and velvets, hence the reason so many ladies 
wore homespun fabrics. The main adornment of a frock was the fichu which 
was made of fine muslin or lace. 

The gown on the manikin representing Martha Washington is a very 
ornate dress of salmon colored silk. The wide skirt (Marie Antoinette 
mode) is almost completely covered with well executed hand painted flower 
designs of all description symbolic of the various plants of the new 
Republic. Following the French style of the 1780* s is a very fine muslin 
fichu that finishes the low pointed neckline. Short elbow sleeves and long 


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gloves complete Martha Washington's toilette. Her hairdo is practically a 
lacy bonnet. In the matter of clothes for the feminine population of the 
United States, the main characteristic was the fine impoi-ted materials 
used profusely. The many portraits in the Museums give a splendid idea 
of the genera] modes of Revolutionary time. Copley, Gilbert Stuart, 
and a few other American artists have left treasures of beautifully 
executed masterpieces which remain important records of the American 
History of costumes during that particular period. 

This great American lady, Abigail S # Adams, was in a general way 
much more concerned with her family and household duties than with the 
matter of clothes. However, it is said that once placed in the highest 
position as the First Lady of the Land, she expressed an astonishing 
remark that the White House should, in a certain measure, as her husband 
thought, resemble in refinement and dignity the Courts of the Continent 
and England. 

The gown which is supposed to have been worn by this very disting- 
uished mistress of the White House is quite sombre, dark blue Canton Crepe 
and made on simple lines, but of a period previous to 17 87 • The skirt is 
full, similar to Martha Washington's gown, but it is short, however, show- 
ing her yellow satin shoes. It is to be noticed that the neckline is in 
the shape of a V and adorned with an exquisite real lace (Mechlin) fichu 
terminated by a long and full lace jabot. The sleeves are puffed and 
elbow length. A double row of pearls encircles the throat. Chinese 
embroidery is the main trimming on the skirt. 


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Josephine Bonaparte as a Leader of Styles - Women's Fashions in the 
United States - Mistresses of the White House - Martha Jefferson 
Randolph (1801-1809) Dorothy Paine Todd-Madison (1809-1817). 


The many revolutions and wars of the end of the 18th Century had 
brought about remarkable changes in the living standard and also in the styles 
of dress for both men and women. 

French modes continued to be very much in vogue at the turn of the 
Century, and the British publications emphasized the radical changes more or 
less inspired by the Greek and Roman lines, the narrow skirt and the low 
decolletage. The queer chapeaux were as much criticized as those worn 
during the reign of Queen Marie-Antoinette. 

Later, however, the thin and flimsy materials were replaced by warmer 
ones. Wool and furs featured the main modification of the year 1803 when a 
most severe epidemic of influenza caused Parisian women to resort to clothes 
more in keeping with the season - shawls and scarves appeared on the market 
to protect Madame from the cold. Not only were those comfortable garments 
worn outdoors, but even in the houses which were then far from well heated. 

This period, with Josephine Bonaparte as the fashion leader, gave 
the women of France, and in almost every other country, new lines in the 
feminine silhouette, but the dresses were still short - showing bright 


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colored shoos - high waisted, with clinging skirts. Considerably adorned 
with artificial flowers placed everywhere on the gowns, the demand for that 
garniture grew to such an extent that an important industry flourished by 
virtue of the popularity of that mode. 

The cashmere shawl appeared shortly after Napoleon's Egyptian 
expedition, and the textiles comprised light silks, organdy, and India 
muslin, which was always embroidered, sometimes with gold and silver threads. 
The increased trade with India influenced fashion to a certain extent. Flesh 
colored corsets, underwear, stockings, and shoes, were characteristic of the 
period, as well as pantaloons under a thin muslin skirt. 

It was during that memorable era that the ladies of the Court 
rivalled with each other in the beauty of their dress, and also in the 
wealth of their jewelry. It is said that sometimes as much as 20 million 
francs (at that time k million dollars) worth of diamonds were worn by one 
of those ladies. This marked extravagance of Napoleon's Court was obvious 
in every form, as the men wore gorgeous uniforms as well as civilian 
oostumes of unusual elegance. Women 1 s dress often cost as much as one 
thousand dollars, and the dressmakers and tailors made fortunes. 

The styles this Empress gave the women of Europe and America sur- 
passed everything worn before that time; the decolletage was cut lower and 
lower, especially in the back, showing the shoulders. She was anxious to 
be the most beautiful woman of any group and nearly always succeeded. 
Unfortunately for her, Pauline Bonaparte (her sister-in-law) enjoyed the 
reputation of being still better looking. 

One day, Josephine gave a reception. She found out the color of 


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Pauline's gown and when ahe heard that it was to be green, she immediately 
ordered the furniture of the reception room to be upholstered in a color 
that would clash with Pauline's dress in order that she might appear at a 
disadvantage. The Finperor' s sister was not to be fooled so easily; she 
remained standing the whole evening, thus compelling the entire assembly 
to do the same. No one sat down when the bhiperor's sister was standing, 


Elegant and graceful lines continued to be the main feature of the 
feminine silhouette, but with the skirt several inches from the ground, and 
long sleeves for casual wear. Scarves, often made of lace wound around the 
shoulders, gave women an appearance of sophistication. Sometimes an end of 
the scarf was carelessly thrown over the arm. Boas and sashes gave a note 
of chic to Madame' s toilette. 

Designers and couturiers of feminine attire often borrowed details 
from other nations - Grecian scarves, the Russian petticoat, Persian 
embroidered vests, etc. Jewelry was also inspired from various nations. 

Long sleeves were the main characteristic of a stylish frock, with 
the waistline still encircling the bust line. Many costumes show Madame 1 s 
neck partly hidden by a soft white ruffled muslin collar. 

There are numerous paintings to portray, in an authentic manner, 
the modes of the Napoleonic era. For example: "Le Sacre de Napoleon" by 
David (in the Louvre Museum, Paris); "Frascati" by Dubucourt is another 
of the canvasses in which a stylish group of both men and women of 1807 is 
faithfully represented. 

Tflhite, which had been so popular, was put aside for brighter hues, 


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such as green, yellow, blue and mauve. Prints were also seen occasionally 
made up in morning frocks. Several colors were combined in a costume, 
such as a pale blue dress with white sleeves and an enormous yellow hat 
trimmed with roses and white lace. 

The Empire period, often known as the classical era, marked the 
change of color in the wedding gown. The bride often chose pale colors on 
the grounds that it was really more practical to be married in yellow, blue, 
mauve, but white was the most popular color. 

With the change that occurred at the Court of Napoleon, Marie Louise 
replacing the unfortunate Josephine as Empress of France, la Mode in l8l£> 
remained more or less on the same lines. It may be added, however, that 
Marie Louise failed to be the fashion leader that Josephine had been. 

The Chinese parasol was all the rage, and the Maltese Cross very 
much in vogue as a decoration. 

The hairdo, composed of curls, was always partly or all covered 
with the bonnetj a couple of careless little curls disclosing themselves on 
the forehead. 

All these elegant modes reached our shore, and American women 
dressed stylishly. 

(President's Daughter) 

It is to be regretted that no gown of the Jeffersonian period 

could be found to dress the figure representing the Mistress of the White 

House during President 5 Jefferson* s administration. All her dresses had 

been worn and used during the Civil War when the population of the United 


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States was more or less deprived of imported silks and rich materials. 
But, after searching everywhere for some portions of her attire, a beauti- 
ful Paisley shawl was finally found which was sent to the Smithsonian 
In stitute. 

Draped gracefully over the manikin's shoulders, this shawl is made 
of black wool apparently cashmere, with a border of red, green and blue 
with tan and brown woven in an Oriental design of a date-palm, symbolic of 
the renewal of life. 

The head is partly covered with a turban over a curled coiffure. 

It is difficult to state in an authentic manner just exactly the 
modes worn by that very popular Mistress of the White House, Dolly Madison 
surnamed "Queen Dolly," as the costume on the manikin in the Smithsonian 
Institution is somewhat different from the Paris styles worn during that 

The yellow brocaded satin Polonaise is draped over a white satin 
underskirt, elaborately embroidered in Chinese motif decorations very 
much in vogue in the United States at that time - the polonaise is edged 
with lace. A large cape made of lace adorns the short-^waisted bodice, 
with a rather low decolletage. Long kid gloves almost reach the short 
puffy sleeves. Her hairdo is high and partner covered with a turban very 
much a la mode during the beginning of the 19th Century. 



THIRD PERIOD (cont'd) 

(1815 - 1830) - France and England - Fashions in the United States - 
Mistresses of the White House - Elizabeth Kortright Monroe (1817) 
Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams (182$) Binily Donelson (1829) 


The social development that happened in France, after the fall of the 
Empire, was responsible for the various changes that occurred in the general 
styles of clothes for both men and women. It was a sort of reaction from 
the modes of the Napoleonic era. Their modifications caused the feminine 
style to be rather heavy, and there were ruffles and a great deal of trim- 
ming. The high waisted bodice, considered so essential to the beauty of the 
feminine silhouette, remained unchanged for years, and even the peasant and 
the lower classes followed that style. The clinging skirt, however, gave 
place to a wider and fuller jupe (skirt), with numerous plisses (plaits) 
reminiscent of the complicated modes of Louis XVth. By 1817, the waistline 
was lowered and puffy sleeves were called gigot . 

Machine laces manufactured during that period proved to be a most 
important adornment on dresses made of flimsy material. Embroidery (done 
by hand) still in vogue, gave the higher class women a change to show their 
superiority of refinement. 

For casual and street wear, colors were more or less neutralized, 
and queer names were given to certain hues, such asr A light green was 
called crapeau mort d* amour (toad dead of love) 5 another name, Zjnzoline , 

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One wonders where the inspiration for those tones came from. Combination of 
terra cotta and blue, white, and garnet, yellow and blue (rather pale) j the 
most popular color, however, was white which was worn on many festive occa- 
sions, often embroidered by hand, in colors principally. 

In France, with Charles X as King, styles became more elaborate and 
the skirts were like an enormous bell. Madame' s jupon literally covered with 
puffing and gathers, remained short to the instep only, and short for that 
period 1 This period called classical followed the influence of the theatre, 
music, and literature - l82l| fashions were inspired by novels, the most 
significant of which were "Ourika" by the Duchess of Duras, and later "La 
Dame Blanche." The decolletage was rather low and bateau-like showing the 

In England, during the reign of George IVth, several changes took 
place and those original modes were called Georgian. The most remarkable 
was the reticule, a bag in which women placed their handkerchief and 
objects they wanted to carry, but the practical usage for this handbag was £o 
money. A reticule adorned with significant sad pictures showing the slave 
trade was sold and carried by the society ladies of England - a kind of 
philanthropic gesture to help in the movement of abolishing that shameful 
custom. What appeared then as a novel innovation was the pantaloons, 
fastened with a tape. Referring to this odd style - they are occasionally 
called "Pantalettes" mentioned as long drawers^ but the queer pantaloons 
were unique in their kind. 

An anecdote in relation to pantaloons is interesting to narrate: 
The name "Pantaloon" in English is "Pantalon" in French and "Pantalone" in 


• riijJrsio: 



Italian. This surname comes from Pantaleon, (Greek Doctor and Martyr Saint 
under Galere in 303 B, C,) whose feast day is celebrated on the 27th of 
July, For many years St, Pantaleon was the patron Saint of Venice, until 
the remains of St, Marc arrived in that city. The surname Pantalone was 
given to the Venetians just as we call the Americans "Yankees," and when 
Shakespeare speaks of "the lean and slippered Pantaloon" in his Italian 
comedy, the main characteristic of that gentleman's attire was a sort of 
full culotte, forerunner of our modern pajamas. 

The gown on the manikin representing Mrs* James Monroe, comes from 
the Monroe collection of family treasures. It is made in what was called 
then Watteau style. Its gorgeousness is exemplified by the rich brocade 
and beautiful trimmings. The decolletage is rather low, and the elbow 
sleeves terminated with ruffles. The skirt is long all around with a 
slight train, 

Mrs, Monroe's hairdo (on her portrait) is similar to Dolly Madison's 
coiffure, curls on her forehead. The manikin, however, wears a turban very 
much a la mode in those days, 

Having lived in Paris while her husband was United States Minister, 
Mrs, Monroe followed the French styles as soon as they arrived here in this 
country. But the style of the dress in the National Museum is not of 1817? 
It is a gown which she certainly must have worn before that period; a gown 
of 1817 was short-waisted and more like the Empire styles. That one has the 
lowered waistline and full skirt, which is rather surprising and reswnbles 
more the gowns of the middle of the 18th Century or of a later period - maybe 
1829 or even later. 


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It is rather important that a description of the gown having belonged 
to President Monroe's youngest daughter be included in this series of 
articles concerning the collection exhibited in the Smithsonian Institute at 

As we know, Maria Hester Monroe became the bride (in 1820) of her 
cousin, Samuel Lawrence Gouverneur during her father's term of office. 
Soon after, the young bride often replaced her mother in receiving the 

For a certain period of time, Maria's gown was the only one in the 
National Museum to represent the Mistresses of the "White House during 
President Monroe's administration, but later, however, a gown of her 
mother's was sent to be exhibited in its right place. It was decided that 
Maria Hester Monroe Gouverneur' s gown would be kept as the style of that 
French Creation (182U) emphasizes the very "odd modes" that replaced the 
once popular Empire style. Fashioned of pale blue silk, this dress, in a 
certain measure, is rather complicated with a Watteau plaited back, and a 
puffed flounced skirt elaborately embroidered with straw (a style in vogue 
in the twenties). The low decolletage of the bodice is finished with lace 
trimming, and the short sleeves are adorned with blue and yellow bows of 
ribbons. The hair-do is composed of short curls almost hiding the ears. 

Mrs. Adams' gown resembles the French mode of the period; the skirt 
stands out and is not extremely long. Made of white tulle, it is heavily 
trimmed with silver braid, over a white satin underskirt. 


The restoration period is emphasized by the round neckline, the 
puffy sleeves, the waist-line lower than the Empire style, and the lack of 
graceful folds so beautiful in gowns worn by Josephine and the ladies of 
her Court, 

Mrs. Adams enjoyed the reputation of being very stylish and well 
dressed having lived abroad several years. 

Her hairdo is composed of neatly arranged and lovely waves, with 
a small c hignon on the top of her head, one might call it a " chignon a la 
grecque ." 

"White satin slippers reveal themselves as a prominent part of her 
costume, which might have been worn any time after her husband's inaugura- 
tion as President of the United States. 

EMILY DCNELSCN (1829-1836) 
(President Jackson's Niece) 

The lovely frock worn by the wife of Colonel Donelson (ward and 
nephew of President Andrew Jackson) is one of the prettiest of the collec- 
tion exhibited in the United States National Museum. 

As Mistress of the White House, the young and beautiful Mrs. 
Donelson replaced Mrs. Andrew Jackson (wife of the President) who passed 
away a few months before the Inauguration; she presided until her illness 
in 1836. 

The style of the gown is typical of the French Romantic Period, 
and is the first inaugural dress of the collection. The skirt is very full 
and of soft material; finished with a wide lace ruffle it is short, hardly 
touching the ground and without a train. The pointed basque with a low 


; - < on 



round decolletage (off the shoulders) and the short puffy sleeves are 
decidedly characteristic of that era. Only a part of the gown, however, 
is authentic, the skirt having been lost in a studio fire where it served 
as a drapery. 

Mrs. Donelson's hairdo is composed of numerous puffs over the ears 
A very choice and rather odd tortoise shell comb adorns her coiffure, and 
serves as a striking ornament. 





French and American Fashions - Influence of the Romantic Era - 
The Decolletage - Bonnets - Coiffure - Muffs - Fashions of the 
Late Thirties - Mistresses of the White House - Sarah Angelica 
Van Buren (1838) - Fashions of 18140-181<1-18U2 - The Sewing Machine- 
Julia Gardiner Tyler (18U10 - Sarah Childress Polk (18U5) - Mrs. 
Amelia Bloomer - Abigail Powers Filmore (18^0) 


In France, under King Louis Philippe (1830) la mode went through 
various modifications more or less noticeable. The dresses were consider- 
ably fuller, trimmed elaborately with ruffles, bows of ribbon, lace, and 
braid. The neckline was quite often high encircling the throat - other 
times, the decolletage V-shape was quite low. The wide shoulder effect 
featured the smart outdoor costume. The main characteristic of the 
sleeves was the exaggerated fullness; after having been leg-o-ciutton, they 
became Venitian. 

The tissues were rich, but not very numerous in their varieties - 
silks, velvets, tulle, and a new kind of silk called poult de soie . 

As for colors, they remained practically the same - green, white 
with rose color or blue, garnet, yellow with combinations of several tones 
often complementary in their schemes. Example: yellow and mauve, green 
and pinkj but the most popular tone arrangement was white with colored 
trimmings. By 1836, a long soft pastel shade scarf was nearly always worn 
with an evening gown, also, large collars, resembling a short cape, and 
occasionally scalloped or trimmed with bows or rosettes of ribbon covered 


♦ 1 . 


the shoulders. Luxury of what was then called lingerie (underwear) reached 
a maximum of extravagance, and it seemed as if a lady's attire never had 
enough niching, embroidery, braid and lace. 

The very wide skirts were reminiscent of the XVIIIth Century 
paniers . Never in the history of fashion had a very young girl dressed 
in such complicated styles. 

In I8I4O, the waist was still very small and pointed, the sleeves 
puffy and short, the neckline very low finished with a Bertha of real lace. 
The skirts were full and made with flounces trimmed with lace for evening 
wear. For daytime wear (I8I4I), a short mantle trimmed with fur and a muff 
of the same was the Winter costume of a lady. The bonnet still reigned 
supreme tied under the chin with a large bow of ribbon, called bonnet 
Capeline ; this kind of chapeau helped to keep the curls in place. 


Mrs. Andrew Jackson, Jr. was young and pretty, as well as very gay. 
Because of Emily Don el son's illness, she was called upon to do the honors 
of the White House, and later presided also at the "Hermitage," President 
Jackson* s home in Tennessee where he retired. 

The gown which was presented to the National Museum (after a sug- 
gestion from Mrs. Harry Evans) is made of gauze beautifully embroidered in 
flower motifs. A white satin bodice is sleeveless, and the round low 
decolletage is finished with a bertha of real lace. Mrs* Jackson Jr. had 
worn this gown when she was presented to Washington society, as a new bride. 
It is to be noted here that time has slightly altered the color of that 
lovely wedding dress - it is now more of a deep creamy hue. 




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Her hairdo seems to be a "chignon a la grecque, " with long curls 
falling on each side of her neck, They are much longer, however, than were 
worn during the Restauration, and so, also, is the skirt 

(President's Dau ghter-ln-Law I838-I8I4I) 

The gown on the manikin, representing this young mistress of the 

white House, is really quite handsome, made of royal blue velvet with an 

extremely wide skirt about eight yards around, and worn over a crinoline 

(hoopskirt). Sleeveless and finished around the neck with a beautiful 

Bertha of rare lace, that rich costume is one of the most stylish and 

elegant of the entire collection, and very up-to-date of that particular 


Her headdress is composed of curls falling on her neck. It is 
said that she always wore three small ostrich feathers. 

Travel from Europe was rather slow at that time, but there was 
always a constant intercourse between the two Continents, and it may be 
supposed that Mrs, Van Buren, no doubt, imported a good part of her ward- 
robe from Europe, 

Going through the long hall of the National Museum, where the 
collection of dresses worn by the various hostesses of the White House 
form such an interesting exhibition, one often hears a visitor nearby 
remark "But who was Mrs, Jane Irwin Findlay?" It is true that it may seem 
strange to a foreign visitor not deeply acquainted with the history of 
our interesting First Ladies, to see a manikin representing Mrs» Find! ay, 




When President WilHsm Henry Harrison was elected, his wife, an 
invalid, could not possibly undertake such a journey (by coach from Ohio 
to Washington), so the President invited his daughter-in-law, Jane Irwin 
Harrison (widow of his son) to come to the Executive Mansion for his 
Inauguration. In those days (I8I4I), however, a young woman never 
travelled alone, so her foster mother, Mrs, Findlay, though seventy-three 
years of age, accompanied Mrs. Harrison, Jr. on the long voyage. 

All efforts to find a dress having belonged to Mrs. Harrison (the 
Presidents wife), or even one of Mrs Harrison, Jr were futile. Hence, 
the reason Mrs. Findlay 1 s costume was sent and accepted to be placed among 
all the others. 

Mrs. Findlay 1 s gown is made of brown velvet, rather plain in lines 
It has a full skirt, short tight bodice, leg-o-mutton sleeves, and a moder 
ately low square decolletage; finished with a white embroidered muslin 

It is to be added that during President Harrison 1 s short term, Mrs 
Findlay, being a woman of social grace and experience, was highly consid- 
ered, and served as Hostess as often as young Mrs. Harrison. 



The style of dress on the manikin representing the First Lady of 
the Land is very up-to-date for that period. The full skirt, elaborately 
trimmed with three flounces, is of white gauze embroidered in silver and 
various lovely colors. It looks like a gown that she probably had made 
in Paris to be presented to the French Court. The waist is basque style, 

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the sleeves elbow length. There are flowers adorning the round neckline. 
A lace scarf is gracefully thrown over her shoulders. 

Her hairdo, however, seems to be a little out of the Louis Philippe 
epoch; it is just plainly separated in front and fastened somehow in the 
back without a headdress of any kind. The curls and bows of ribbon were 
decidedly the fashion of that time. 


A Spanish type of beauty, the wife of President James Polk, Sarah, 
was considered a most charming and stylish woman. 

The gown by which she is to be remembered in the Museum of Smith- 
sonian Institute is representative of a very fashionable and extravagant 
period. It was an imported gown of brocaded satin with a design of the 
flower poinsettia woven in. It is made from the modes of the King Louis 
Philippe (of France) reign, very small waist, full short sleeves, and a 
low neckline. Numerous bows of ribbon placed here and there among the 
lace cascades of the skirt, adorn that remarkable and dressy gown. Her 
hairdo is the same as the Court ladies of France and England were, curls 
falling over her ears. She carries a fan. 

The flower "poinsettia" is named after Honorable Joel Poinsett. 

There is, at present (19%k) > a very small portable sewing machine 
weighing but seven pounds, capable of handling all kinds of tasks, delicate 
ones as well as heavier ones. It was recently exhibited in large American 

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Our thoughts go back to 18U6 when Ellas Howe first introduced his 
extraordinary mechanical device to the reluctant Boston population. This 
marvelous contrivance which saves so much time had been invented by a 
Frenchman (Barthelemy Thimmonier 1830), but somehow the French nation 
failed to encourage this new gadget on the grounds that it would ruin the 
tailoring and dressmaking trades. 

Years after the Frenchman's failure, it was with great difficulties 
and heartaches that Elias Howe, the real inventor of the sewing machine, 
finally succeeded in introducing one of the most used mechanical devices 
of our day. No one acclaimed him with enthusiasm; even here in the United 
States it was also feared that the new invention would spoil the trade 
considerably. But his perseverance and strong will to succeed did not 
prove futile at the end, 

Elias Howe was a mechanic of rare ability. Being somewhat handi- 
capped, he made up his mind to perfect his invention. In spite of a fire 
which destroyed his shop, the young inventor continued his unrelenting 
efforts. Helped, however, by a man named Fisher who gave him the necessary 
funds to start his shop, Elias Howe took him as a partner in that hazardous 

Unfortunately, Boston still more conservative in those days than 
now, compelled young Howe to take his machine to England, where his mother 
tried to introduce it. There, working with a man by the name of Thomas, 
he secured a patent and all rights (his third machine). But when he 
returned to the United States, Howe found that his invention was already 
being manufactured, so he had to fight several law suits, which finally 
gave him royalties in 185U, 


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This revolution in France was so brief that the change of dress 
was not radical. The most remarkable feature of that time was the adoption 
of tricolor materials* The general style in France during that period 
remained practically the same as through the last years of Louis Philippe's 
reign as King - the same bodice and the same sleeves were worn, also the 
wide skirts with ruffles. The decolletage rather low was worn evenings 
only, other frocks having very high collars often finished with a bow in 
front. Fans were always a part of a lady's evening attire. Those French 
modes were followed by the Western countries, including the United States. 

New materials, such as "Orleans" and "Armure" were the main feature 
of that particular time. Orleans was a sort of smooth fabric made of wool 
and cotton, while Armure was made of silk (of different weave) manufactured 
in Lyons, dyed various hues. The main feature on the gowns of that period 
was the beauty and richness of the fabrics especially used by the wealthy 
classes - lace trimming adorned silk, velvet, and satin frocks. Black 
lace was used profusely in ruffles over colored silk dresses, also for 
capes and sometimes as a scarf, occasionally rather large, covering the 
head entirely. 

The principal colors were green, violet, lavender, gray, blue; 
for evening, rose color, pale blue, lavender, and white. A jacket and a 
skirt were often made of contrasting materials, such as a blue skirt and 
a yellow jacket - the jacket being lavishly braided with blue soutache. 
The skirts were long enough to hide the boots, which were not considered 
important in a lady's "toilette." Several costumes were composed of as 





many as four colors, Ex. - Green dress, black lace cape, yellow bonnet, and 
a coral pink touch on bonnet. 


In England, a very brave woman, Mrs. Amelia Jenks Bloomer (American 
by birth) revolutionized the style of women's dress when she launched her 
remarkable creation of the divided skirt. Women, who favored bicycle 
riding, were greatly handicapped by the long skirt. Mrs. Elizabeth Smith 
Miller had expressed her ideas and may be considered the real reformer of 
women's dress, but it was actually to Mrs. Bloomer that the honor of 
inaugurating the more comfortable dress for women belongs. She was ridi- 
culed when ladies first appeared wearing the new attire that she had 
designed, and she met with strong opposition. 

It was unfortunate that the number of women thus dressed was not 
numerous enough to influence the majority, and it took time to realize the 
comfort and the health advantage attached to this corsetless garment. 
However, her many sponsors approved of this new movement to improve the 
very uncomfortable fashions of that Century, generally imported from 
Paris, and followed strictly, not only by the upper class, but also by 
the working class. 

When Mrs. Bloomer died in I89I4. at the age of 76, the style of 
bloomer was an accepted fact, and women in every country wore the bloomers 
or divided skirts commonly, even when not riding their bicycles. These 
skirts were made (by machine) of beautiful tweed and considered rather 
chic, stitched in straight rows parallel to the hem; sometimes a skirt had 
as many as fifteen and sixteen rows of stitching making the jupe stand 
out stiffly. 


Mrs, Betty Taylor Bliss Dandridge, daughter of President Taylor, 
served as hostess during the short period he was in the White House, 

The dress in which "Miss Betty" (as she was always called) is 
represented on the manikin is not a really formal frock in comparison to 
the other rather classic gowns exhibited - it probably was a daytime dress. 

It is of a sage grass color and of silk grenadine, trimmed with 
Scotch plaid. The numerous ruffles are edged with moss tone fringe, the 
skirt, without a train, stands out stiffly over crinoline. The "bell 
sleeves" are short, typical of the 181*0 style. Beautiful princess lace 
adorns the bodice, and she carries a handkerchief embroidered with her 
name (Betty), 

It was through great difficulties that a dress worn by Mrs. 
Fillmore during her reign as the Mistress of the White House was finally 
obtained for the precious collection of the National Museum, Mrs, 
Fillmore's gown, as it is exhibited on the manikin, is made of lavender 
silk, Flouces of brocade which were then very much a la mode, adorned 
almost all the wide skirts such as that of her gown. A very lovely lace 
fichu completes the high decolletage of the pointed bodice. 

It is interesting to note, by the way, that Mrs, Fillmore (who 
had been a school teacher) had the distinction of having been influential 
in the passing of the bill authorizing the purchase of books for the first 
library of the White House, It is even said that the room used as the 
library at present is the same that was selected for a reading room in 






1850 soon after the President and Mrs, Fillmore moved in, 

Mrs, Fillmore's dress was, no doubt, partly sewed by machine, as 
the new invention (sewing machine) was beginning to be extremely popular. 
All the gowns of the First Ladies of the White House, before 1850, were 
made entirely by hand. 


' 1 


Second Empire in France (1852) - Eugenie as a Fashion Leader - 
The Great Exhibition of 1851 - The Crinoline - the Shorter Skirt - 
Mistresses of the White House - Jane Appleton Pierce (1853-1857) - 
Harriet Lane Johnston (President Buchanan's Niece (13 57-1361) - 
Mary Todd Lincoln (1861-1865). The Civil War In the United States, 
its Influence on American Dress - Martha Johnson Patterson 
(President Johnson 1 s Daughter (1865-1869) - Modes of the Period 
After the Civil War - Textiles and Trimmings - Julia Dent Grant 

Second Empire (France, 1852-1870). The question of clothes took 
a very important place in the life of women, not only in France during 
the Second Umpire, but everywhere in the world. Everyone talked about 
the feminine attire, and Empress Eugenie of France became the arbiter of 
fashion in a manner quite different from that of the previous periods. 
Her fashions were followed strictly by every nation. However, her styles 
were varied and at times rather radical. Among them was the crinoline 
that she introduced for personal reasons, but this metal foundation 
differed considerably from the one worn duiing a part of the 16th Century 
(Renaissance). The hoop, over which the dress was worn, resembled a 
balloon* Short enough to show a daintyy well-booted foot, it allowed 
the wearer to walk with more ease and comfort than the ones used during 
the earlier period of history. But in those days, ladies of quality 
seldom walked long distances. Fugenie also introduced the princess 
style dress which she wore with grace. 

The Court of France was almost as brilliant as it had been 
before the Revolution; it shone with great magnificence and its influence 
on fashion was powerful in its inspiration, including the cloak called the 


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Casaque which women wore over their lovely dresses. 

The French styles were worn by the women of Britain as well as by 
the feminine population of other countries. However, many of these French 
■odes were and still are called Victorian. It is interesting to note that 
the British publications reproduced styles which were invariably of 
Parisian designs. 

Fashions became the favorite topic of parlor conversation. That 
period, especially remarkable for the question of clothes as well as for 
industry's progress, proved to be very important for textile manufacturing 
which was a significant factor in the designing of artistic fashions. In 
that line (color especially) French superiority was acknowledged by the 
British, at the great Exhibition of 1851. The result of that artistic 
output of French tissues was due to the teaching of color harmony by 
Eugene Chevreul (chemist and colorist) whose courses of lectures were 
given to the workers and designers of the many textile factories in Paris 
and Iyons. Solicited by the Trade, people who realized the advantages of 
color knowledge, Mr. Chevreul not only gave wonderful conferences on Hue, 
Value, Contrast, etc., but his books were translated in several languages. 
Textiles everywhere improved remarkably in tone combinations. In England, 
the tweeds were and still are the admiration of the world. 

Many innovations featured that era of lavishness in la mode 
(fashions). The small parasol was an object of beauty, trimmed with lace 
and embroidery. The long gloves nearly always completed Madame* s toilette,, 

"White gowns were often worn over colored petticoats, and lace 
continued to be in favor; a very fancy skirt, rather over-trimmed and 


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called Basquine , -was a popular fad during that remarkable era. 

A bodice called V a reuse was made of coarse linen resembling the 
dressy woolen one worn by the sailors, on special occasions. Then a 
jacket trimmed with passementerie (an elaborate kind of lacy braid trim- 
ming, often of gold). 

Hats looked like bonnets and were mostly made of ribbon with long 
streamers flowing over the shoulders. Eugenie also set the style of 
coiffurej her beautiful chestnut hair fell down her neck in curls, and 
every woman soon followed that mode of hairdo, called the "Eugenie curls." 
She favored the use of cosmetics and penciled her long eyelashes; she 
applied lipstick to her beautiful cupid bow lips, and women everywhere 
copied her style, to appear more attractive. 

The small hat that she popularized was revived in 193U in every 
city and town of America. 

The year 18 5l might be well remembered not only in Europe, but 
here in the United States, where several ladies appeared on Broadway, New 
York, attired in what was called the "Bloomer Outfit." Some horrified 
conservative Americans expressed their hostility at this bold venture in 
the matter of dress. Until then no lady had dared to wear skirts shorter 
than themselves. At last Amelia Bloomers venture in feminine costume 
was recognized, even across the sea, here in the United States. Many 
laughed and turned this strange innovation into derision, but that quaint 
outfit was worn by as distinguished a woman as Susan B. Anthony, whose 
friendship with Amelia Bloomer is an historical fact. However, it took 
time before it (Bloomer Costume) was approved by the masculine population 
whose ideas on women's dress remained conservative for years. 


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Until i860 the voluminous skirts remained quite long. But when 
Impress Eugenie travelled in Switzerland she found it more practical to 
wear shorter skirts in order to climb the Alps. This occasion also 
brought about tailor-made effect for walking costume. 

When the vogue of the panier and crinoline reached the United 
States, women rechristened them the bustle and the hoop skirt. 

The most remarkable feature of that era was the Paisley shawl 
which appeared along with the parasol and the bonnet that was held with 
ribbon tied under the chin with a bow. The skirts, still very wide, were 
adorned with ruffles from five to three inches wide. The sleeves remained 
plain at the top but rather puffy at the wrist. The bodices continued to 
be fitted closely to the figure and also trimmed with a narrow ruffle at 
the neckline, which was quite high for daytime wear. 

Green, light navy, yellow also (for bonnets), and brown were the 
most popular tones. Two colors often composed the fashionable gowns of 
that period. For example, a rose-colored skirt with a pale blue bodice, 
or a white and blue evening frockj dark red with a gray lace scarf. The 
outdoor costume was often trirmned with fur, generally with bands of 
ermine, about the most popular fur at that time. 


The gown that Mrs. Pierce wore at her husband's inauguration was 
made of black tulle on the lines of the Empire style, with its very wide 
and long skirt, also the closely fitted bodice. 

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shoulders follow Empress Eugenie* s French mode. The gown is elaborately 
embroidered with silver threads; the skirt, however, is not apparently- 
held in place with the crinoline, so smart at that time. As a whole 
the costume exhibited in the National Museum is decidedly of the period 
(18^3) • Mrs, Pierce' 8 hairdo does not seem of that era, but perhqps 
that was the popular style here in the United States, or that particular 
coiffure may have been more becoming to the First Lady of the Land. The 
small headdress of black net embroidered with gold and jet was especially 
favored by Mrs. Pierce who wore it during her entire stay in the White 

The young and charming niece (Harriet Lane Johnston) of President 
Buchanan, was one of the prettiest and most graceful hostesses of the 
White House. She is represented in the National Museum, dressed with a 
glamorous white antique moire silk costume, which we are told was her 
wedding gown. The skirt, finished with scallops at the hem, is extremely 
wide, but not much longer than floor length; the end of a white satin 
boot discloses itself. The decolletage of her tight fitting bodice is 
fairly low, but her real lace bridal veil gracefully draped around the 
shoulders makes it appear higher. Her coiffure is of the period (18$7), 
curls in waterfall style. 


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MARY TODD LINCOLN (1861-186$) 

As the First Lady of the Land, Mary Todd Lincoln, enjoyed the 
reputation of being a stylish and well-dressed woman. 

Mrs. Lincoln's gown is made of purple velvet, the wide skirt 
apparently held with the Empress Eugenie crinoline, and made of several 
gores, each one piped with white satin* The waist is terminated in a 
point in front, tight fitting and with a long lace bertha around the low 
neckline, style of the early sixties. The whole costume is rich and 
beautiful. It is said that Mrs. Lincoln's historic costume was probably 
made by a colored woman who acted as her maid and also her dressmaker. 
Her small coiffure was adorned with a wreath of flowers that she seemed 
to favor. A fan, fashionable at that time, completes Mrs. Lincoln's 

It is to be regretted that the manikin representing the First 
Lady of the Land at that special time is so oddly attired. One may 
rightly conclude that the lack of material during the trying years of 
the Civil War caused the gowns of even the high class American women to 
be made over until actually worn out. This is probably the reason the 
manikin is just covered with that white camel* s-hair wrap, which is a 
decided contrast to the many other figures of the collection, which are 
more or less richly gowned in their Inaugural Ball attire. Her hairdo, 
however, is stylish, with curls, a la mode. 


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The period preceding the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871) marked 
an era of extravagant modes, which revolutionized the dressmaking trade; 
couturiers and tailors made fortunes. Designers received their customers 
in beautifully furnished salons (parlors), and women could hardly express 
their opinion in the choice of their toilette (outfit). The range and 
combinations of color were often inspired from well-known artists of the 
time as couturiers considered their models works of art, A number of 
different colors composed a fashionable woman 1 s costume. For example: 
A green and rose-colored gown, pale yellow gloves, grey boots, and a 
touch of white or black lace. It is to be noted, which is rather amusing, 
that the question of giving up the crinoline was discussed by the leaders 
of fashion who met and consulted together for that very important decision. 
At last, the hoop disappeared for good. 

An out-of-door costume was often trimmed with fur, generally in the 
form of bands on the three-quarter coat at the neck and at the bottom of 
the sleeves, A small muff of ermine or mink featured the modes of that 
historic period, just before the siege of Paris (Winter 1870-1871), 

Green, peacock blue, dark red, rose color, and white, were favored 
as the fashionable colors, while black was worn for mourning only. Made 
of black cashmere, a mourning outfit was heavily trimmed with crepe, with 
a sort of bonnet and black veil trimmed with crepe and long in the back 
for the widow, who wore this sort of costume for two or three years. 
Even children wore only black or white. Jewelry, which was a special 
feature of the modes then, was forbidden for the widows and near relatives. 

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JULIA DENT GRANT (1869-1877) 

Mrs. Ulysses Simpson Grant, who represents the post Civil War years, 
was one of the famous hostesses of the White House. She dressed well, 
following la mode de Paris , as the majority of wealthy Americans did, 
expressing, as it were, a marked cheerfulness with lavish and beautiful 
clothes. Social life in Washington, during the eight years Grant was 
President of the United States, was very active, hence the reason for such 
display of rich and fashionable attire for both men and women. 

The gown on the manikin, representing the First Lady of the Land 
in the National Museum, is a gorgeous affair of brocaded silk with silver 
threads, presented to her by the Emperor of China as a gift. It is made 
with plisses on the skirt, as it was the style. The skirt, touching the 
floor all around, is held stiffly by the crinoline. A cape-bertha of real 
point lace, dating back to President Grant *s first Inaugural Ball, covers 
the shoulders and the decolletage, which is quite low. 

Her hairdo is composed of numerous curls rather high on her head. 


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What I call the Fourth Period in this History of Costume, actually 
began after the fall of the French Empire in 187 1* Since that time Madame 
Fashion went through various kinds of silhouettes. The modes that suc- 
ceeded each other were absolutely the creation of men in search of variety 
and beauty. 

In fact, as we shall see, women's clothing industry here in the 
United States irresponsible for a large number of drastic changes, and in 
turn has been vastly affected by the feminine figure which no longer is 
constricted by the corset such as had been worn for centuries since 1300. 

Women* s entrance into various industries also caused this return 
to the physical comforts of the pre-corset era. 

With the end of the French Empire (1871) came an entirely new 
period in fashion, and French couturiers became the real arbiters of 
styles; their models were, and still are, a challenge. Formerly, as we 
know, Queens had been the real creators of "la mode # " Even as late as 
a Century ago when Eugenie was Empress of the French and attached such 
importance to dress that she even turned huge chambers of the Tuilleries 
Palace into workshops where milliners and dressmakers brought their best 
goods for her to select from, and to introduce such new ideas as the 


[HUT TOO - 855 



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3x 19M/JOX 


panier, and the crinoline (hoop). The latter was called a "cage," and the 
wearer was said to be "caged in," a description that was more truthful 
than poetic. Empress Eugenie's unparalleled wardrobe has not been equalled 

Here in the United States, the First Lady of the Land may have 
inspired fashion in details of some kind, such as a new shade, hairdo, 
and trimmings. This may also be said of well known actresses whose manner 
of dress was often copied by a certain class of women, but the main lines 
beginning with the decolletage, the waistline, the sleeve, and the skirt, 
were drastically changed by French artist designers. The silhouette 
characterized the special year in which it was first introduced at the 
seasonal fashion shows, designers having drawn their inspiration from 
various sources, as we know. 

The change to the present tense in discussing this era of 1900- 
1953, may need explanation. It is due to the fact that the evolution of 
the feminine costume since 1900 is a vastly different story from that 
since Antiquity, consequently, it seems more practical to present in diary 
form the substance of my lectures as they were given year by year in the 
classroom or before the general public at clubs, libraries, or at Normal 
colleges. In condensing my lectures, I have endeavored to present only 
the highlights of style. illustrations, which are original, remain 
practically the same as I drew them on the classroom blackboard, suggested 
from Paris or New York fashion periodicals or from quick sketches made 
while attending fashion shows. 

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even mushroom growth in relatively new industries of manufactured garments, 
and we now see the manufacturing of ready-to-wear clothes for women as 
arbiters of fashion, even though the main designs really still come from 
Paris where designers strive to adopt their creations to the scientific 
progress of this Era, But these models which, by means of additional 
trimmings, eliminations, and adjustments, are hardly recognizable as they 
are turned into practical, comfortable, and beautiful coats, dresses, and 
even fancy formal frocks that are within the means of every American wan an. 

Of course, this turn of the Century brought the same problems of 
fashion as in the past, and as then following the course of historical 
events, such as in World War (191U-1918), the Depression (1929), and World 
War II ( 1939-19 h$)> but in addition there came an amazing change and 
advance in various fields of industry, most particularly in industrial 
chemistry, all of which affected costume profoundly, by launching many 
kinds of materials (rayon, nylon, etc.) and ways of living (automobile 
and air travel), never known before. 

This first half century sees many published prophecies about 
women's apparel of the future, when people expect to be travelling to the 
moon, and who knows what fantasy may replace our present "atomic" 
fashions I 


8£ norow ig! 89ff.toIc 







Modes of 1871-1899,- French Designers and Couturiers - 
Eccentricities of the 80's - American Wealth - Importance of 
French Models - New York as a Fashion Center - Influence of the 
Theatre - Mistresses of the White House - Lucy Webb Hayes (1877) - 
Lucretia Rudolph Garfield (1881) - Mary Arthur McELroy - (President 
Arthur* s Sister - 1881) - High Lights of 1883 - Modes of 1886 - 
1887 - 1888 - Frances Folsom Cleveland (1886), Caroline Scott 
Harrison (188°) - Styles of the ^90*8 - Importance of Ready-to-Wear 
Garments - Ida Saxton Mc Kin ley (1897) - Modes of I898 - 1899. 


The sudden change in la mode that occurred after the fall of the 
French Empire (1871) differed considerably from that of the preceding years. 
With the disappearance of the crinoline (hoop), the style might have been 
called simple but for the many ruffles and a great variety of garniture 
(trimmings). The wealth and rank of the wearer, however, was not as obvious 
as in former periods, although rich fabrics continued to flood the market. 
Combinations of materials such as cashmere and satin silk with the gorgeous 
new Parisian velvet featured an up-to-date feminine toilette. 

The two French Provinces, Alsace and Lorraine, lost to France in 
1870-71, inspired the designers; the blue, white, and red cocarde 
(rosette) was adopted as a favorite trimming, especially on hats. This 
innovation went around Europe and lasted quite some time. Bows of ribbon, 
lace, and ruffles in quantity, with a skirt shirred and caught up here and 
there. Ornamentation on all parts of Madame 1 s gown gave an appearance of 
elegance (though not beautiful) to the fashions. The cut seemed to be the 


most important factor of la m ode for the close fitting corseted figure. 

With the limited choice of fabrics, certain materials were always 
used for daytime or evening clothes, such as Grosgrain silk and velvet 
for formal wear, and serge, alpaca, cashmere, for casual occasions; cotton 
was not used as it is today. The ingenuity of the designers proved to be 
limitless and the arrangements of tones or colors in one costume were 
astonishing. Glamorizing Madame 1 s toilette, couturiers endeavored to 
create details that often gave the gown a note of distinction* 

La Mode, as a whole, for that era, left no scope for variety in 
the placing of ruffles, bows, furbelows, lace cascade, on Madame 1 s frock. 
The basque and the Polonaise, held in place with the small pad or bustle, 
comprised the general feminine silhouette. A note of interest was indi- 
cated by the method used in the selection of colors for the launching of 
new styles. Couturiers often borrowed colors from well known painters. 

It is, however, an undeniable fact that designers had almost failed 
in the creating of artistic and beautiful models; because of that, a cer- 
tain similarity of dress which was obvious and monotonous existed, the 
only original note being in the combination of tones - sometimes as many 
as three on one gown. Black was the first color, lavender a good second. 
The arrangement of hues may be exemplified by a yellow gown adorned with 
mauve ruffles, a violet toilette relieved with black lacej a blue and 
white combination. Wedding gowns were invariably made of silk - the 
colors in vogue, lavender, pale blue, yellow, etc. Though not used for 
daytime wear, the short train was still a part of Madame 1 s formal gown. 

The variety of weave in the silks, cottons, and woolens, offered 


'rod - {?, } ; 

satisfactory results in the designing field, often giving a frock a kind 
of new look, as it were. But the latest caprice in the line of silks 
was the lovely but stiff poult d e sole, easy to manipulate in the forming 
of plaits, so much in vogue at that time. 

Lacing of the corset as tight as possible continued to be the 
general practice, emphasizing the bust and hip curves. This mode, unfor- 
tunately, lasted for years. 

Practically no variety existed in the sleeves which were long and 
plain at the top. A cuff or a puffy muslin undersleeve, occasionally 
noticeable on dressy models, was regarded with surprise and immediately 
copied by dressmakers, the majority of whom were far from original 
though generally excellent in their trade. 

Madame' s chapeau was a kind of small bonnet of one or two colors 
to match the gown or of a complementary or contrasting tone. 

The question of money played an important role in feminine circles. 
High fashion was not as it is today, within the means of every woman' s 
purse. The price of silk and velvet was exorbitant, and a silk dress 
was considered by many as an extravagance. 

Che of the rather interesting events of this era (about 18? 2) in 
the field of the Haute Couture was the sewing of a personal label inside 
the imported models. Credit for this new device is given to Worth, the 
well-known and distinguished Parisian designer who had made clothes for 
Empress Eugenie. The couturiers had already begun to show their import- 
ance, but no one had conceived an idea such as Worth 1 s. 

The skirt train which had been for so long a symbol of women's 


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dignity, was at last put aside for the daytime toilette, A very popular 
fashion was a cape of mink with a small muff to match. 

The fashions during the Seventies took considerable time to be 
adopted, and when this happened new modes were regarded with awe. Women 1 s 
fear of seeming eccentric conflicted with their desire to appear original, 
hence the conservative feeling (especially here in the United States) of 
the American population. 

There is one phase, however, of Madame 1 s toilette which left no 
scope for variety and richness, and that was the vogue in jewelry which 
grew to almost an inconceivable extravagance. Beautiful pins with pearls, 
diamonds, rubies, and sapphires - the lovely, but rather heavy necklaces 
of jet, pendants, earrings, brooches, crosses of gold, even chains of all 
kinds, and bracelets, were worn for a number of years. 

The machine-made lace which was apparently accepted by the high 
class of society was an astonishing detail greatly deplored by the lace 
makers of Ireland, France, Belgium, and Italy. The lovely and delicate 
handmade garniture was considered passl g 

In the United States, Parisian styles were followed and copied by 
a great majority; there was so much wealth. The style of furs increased 
and mink (from Canada and Maine) was priced so low that wealthy women 
looked for other more expensive furs (Canadian Mink $2.f>0 to $3.00 a 
skin - in the United States $5.00 to $6.00). At present (1955), Mink, 
considered one of the loveliest furs, is selling as high as $300.00 a 

Modes of the years preceding the International Exhibition in Paris 


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(1878) are better described by illustrations. 

As you will see by these illustrations, dresses, negliges, dressing 
gowns, wraps and capes all seem to have been designed for the general 
discomfort of the wearer. At least, these feminine clothes designed and 
made for the high class exclusively, appear to have been slavishly copied 
by women whose active life failed to be in harmony with such restrictions 
as long trailing skirts, bustles, and tight-fitting corsets. Even at that 
time women were engaged in professions, such as school teaching, holding 
office positions, and nursing, and these costumes were from any standpoint, 
uncomfortable and inconvenient. Fashion compelled wage earners (Shop- 
keepers and dressmakers, etc,) also to be thus unsuitably dressed in 
imitation of ladies of leisure. The force of the word "impracticable" 
heard on the lips of so many critics was demonstrated when, for instance, 
a well-dressed young mother carrying a baby, a bag, and her trailing skirt 
had to be helped when boarding a train. One may form an idea of how very 
difficult such clothing was when, at that time, most conveyances them- 
selves were far from comfortable, $ 

LUCY WEBB HAYES (1877-1881) 

This new Mistress of the Executive Mansion, as it was then called, 
was a very good looking woman. In order to dress her hair the way she 
did, her features must have been regular, because during that period no 
one dared to have such a plain hairdd. 

At that time, just before the International Paris Exhibition, 
fashion was really not quite settled in France, Couturiers tried to launch 



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modes that would be accepted, but the general styles left much to be desired, 

Lucy Webb Hayes 1 dress in the National Museum is typical of the 
complicated modes of that period (fringe and ruffles). The gown by which 
she is to be remembered is made of a rich brocade of gold and cream colored 
silk and satin; (a dress that she wore at a State dinner given at the White 
House in honor of the Grand Duke Alexis of Russia, during his visit in the 
United States), It is heavily trimmed and cut in princess style, fitted 
closely to her figure, and has looped up puffs on the sides. The neck 
line is rather high (Mrs, Hayes did not like low decolletage) and her 
sleeves bracelet length. The skirt has a bustle and a train elaborately 
trimmed with ruffles, 


As we already know, the fashions of 1881 were far from artistic, 
and the dress Mrs, Garfield wore is a complicated affair of ruffles and 
bows, cut elaborately as all frocks were at that time. 

It was rather difficult for the Museum to obtain the gown she 
wore at the inauguration of her husband because she was living at the 
time of the Opening of the collection of costumes and she refused to 
send it. She finally consented (on her deathbed) to have her inauguration 
ball dress packed carefully, presented to the National Museum, Made of 
lustrous lavender satin, the skirt with a long train trimmed with satin 
puffs, has several deep flounces of real lace in front. The bodice is 
tight fitting, high neck, and with long sleeves edged with lace frills. 

Her hairdo is neatly and becomingly arranged in curls and a 
chignon a la grecque on the top of her head, 


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MARY ARTHUR McELROY (1881-1885) 
(President Arthur's Sister) 

Elegant, but simple in lines, the dress that was once worn by- 
President Arthur's youngest sister, is really beautiful, because the rich 
heavy gray satin damask which it is made of is woven in a pattern of the 
popular morning glory flower* 

Mrs, McElroy's daughters hesitated in sending a gown of their 
mother's to the National Museum as it was known that even during her 
brother's (President Arthur) term of office when she so gracefully ful- 
filled the duties of hostess of the White House, Mary Arthur McElroy 
dressed in a quiet style, either in black or in gray. 

The costume in question is of a silvery tone, made with a gored 
skirt and a slight train. Curiously enough no bustle is apparent at the 
back of a skirt that hangs flatly, contrary to the mode of that period. 
Pearls and cut steel embroidery adorns the front panel and also the seams 
of the bodice and the puffy sleeves. The rather low decolletage is in 
the shape of a pointed sweetheart neckline finished with a ruffle of lace 
and a small flower bouquet. 

The hairdo on the manikin is the same as represented in one of 
her portraits, parted in the center, and brought back in a chignon. 

Fashion history was made that year with the appearance, in Paris, 
of the huge bustle that featured the radical change of style. The bodice 
of the gown was tight and buttoned in front, often finished with a tailor- 
made collar and "revers" and had close-fitting sleeves at the wrist with a 



. ■ 

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white cuff like the vest. For certain occasions -white ruffles adorned the 
waist and sleeves. As a whole, this period continued rather tailor-made 
as in 80-81, but the skirts often had ruffles or plaits. The drapery that 
went over the hips was finished with puffs held by plisses (gathers) over 
the atrocious bustle in the back made of crinoline. 

Colors were dark red, brown, greens of all shades, and a very 
light navy. Yellow often trimmed a dressy gown in a sort of vest effect. 
But the fabrics were still limited to cashmere, alpaca, velvet, grosgrain 
silk. Machine-made trimmings of all descriptions, such as a soutache, 
braids, laces, passementerie and ribbons, flooded the market. 

Lined with taffeta silk or percaline, the waist was heavily boned 
at every seam, and also at the two darts below the bust. It took about 
eight or ten short lengths of whalebone to make a waist fit closely to 
the figure. Trailing slightly at the back, the skirts were very long and 
worn over a silk or satin ruffled petticoat, and always held up by the 
right hand when crossing the muddy streets of that time. As for the 
shoes and stockings, they were not considered seriously in a woman 1 s 
attire, and hosiery of cashmere cotton and wool was nearly always black. 
The button or laced boot was made of cloth called prunella , and kid pro- 
tected the feet and ankles from the cold. 

Hats were small, heavily trimmed with plumes, ribbons, or 
aigrettes, and the entire costume was rather feminine in appearance. 

The hairdo was high and since no marcel wave had yet been 
invented, most women were forced to put up their hair in paper curls 
every night, covered by a lace or fancy bonnet. Gloves were strictly 


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de rigeur for all occasions. 

As a whole, the fashions that came from Paris were far from smart, 
though adopted in America without any question about their practicability. 
Since the fall of the French Empire, the Parisian styles were more or less 
confused and the designers were trying to create original and beautiful 
modes that would equal those launched by Empress Eugenie before 1870, 
One redeeming feature of these odd styles, however, was the very remarkable 
rich materials, such as Liberty Stuff and handsome soft Indian tissues that 
made their appearance on the market, also colored printed materials of 
attractive designs which had a very favorable reception by the leading 
couturiers* It might be added that though couturiers and designers had 
not yet succeeded in creating artistic and beautiful modes, the general 
taste of the public appeared contented with the models that came from 
Paris and New York. 

As New York was the Center of Fashions, her couturiers and designers 
travelled two or three times a year to Paris and London; they copied and 
modified the French styles for the American women. Ready-made garments 
were beginning to be more and more popular. 

Another style item of importance was the English-cut bicycle 
jacket, contrasting considerably with the rather fancy jacket of previous 

Designers during the years 1887-88-89, in their effort to launch 
new modes, exercised their ingenuity by presenting odd and original 


draperies on Madame' s bunchy jupon - (skirt). They also handled combinations 
of materials by very clever fashion tricks. But, alas I no couturiers 
actually departed from the rather grotesque silhouette, the same pinched-iri- 
waist, the large hips, the bustle and plain shoulder line. Hence, notes of 
novelty were achieved by the varied manner of placing ruffles and trimmings, 
such as bows of ribbon, which contributed to the complication of dress, 
adopted soon after the 70' s. The general effect of the gown appeared 
different from its predecessors which satisfied the feminine desire to 
appear chic and up-to-date. 

The revival of handmade lace, a very happy event of these years, 
left the machine-made kind to be used on Summer dresses only, and on under- 
wear or lingerie, as it was called in Paris, Silk and satin underwear, 
even a corset of satin, was featured for wealthy Madame* s trousseau. 

Dresses of too bright colors were not generally accepted for daytime 
wear, but an overdress of black lace was used to tone it down. 

Hats favored by the entire feminine population were not large, and 
invariably adorned with plumes and quill sj no bonnets, except for very 
old ladies. 

Decorated with beads and a satin bow, Milady's shoes were made of 
plain leather. 

False hair, taken as a matter of course, was worn by a great 
majority of the fair sex. This deprived many of the pleasure of being 
singled out by their wealth of golden or dark natural curls. 


IJj?.2 bos 

(1886-1889) (1893-1897) 

Young and pretty Mrs. Cleveland 1 s gown is one that she wore during 
her husband 1 s second administration. 

It is made of pale green silk, brocaded with large pink roses, 
and the closely fitted bodice is encircled by a velvet belt matching the 
color of the roses. The wide gored skirt is without a train. The 
decolletage is not very low but a little off the shoulders, as it was 
popular for formal attire of that period. The sleeves are full and short. 

Her hairdo also is typical of the early nineties - waved and 
arranged softly behind the ears in a knot. 


Made of soft silver gray silk, Mrs. Harrison's lovely inaugural 
ball dress stands out among the many costumes of this extraordinary 
collection. The very full skirt, gored in the latest style of the early 
nineties, exemplifies the marked radical change of fashion that occurred 
in Paris during that period of bold venture. The sleeves are not exactly 
puffy, but sewed in the armseye with fullness. The V-neck modestly low 
emphasizes Mrs. Harrison's modest taste. Beautiful real lace adorns the 
bodice which is finished with a point at the waistline. 

The important thing, however, to remember about this first Lady's 
formal attire is the fact that it is of American design, the silk having 
been woven in an original and artistic pattern suggested by the First 
Lady herself, that is, a composition of forms taken from the bur-oaks of 



s one 

Her coiffure is what was called then by professional hair stylists 
"chignon a la Grecque." A tortoise shell pin and fancy gold comb adorn 


the top of her wavy hair. 

( 1892-1893) 

Living with her parents, President Harrison's daughter, Mary, 
assumed the duties of the White House, during her mother's illness and after 
her death. Witty and extremely good looking, her cordial though dignified 
manner made her a favorite of Washington Society, but grieved by the loss 
of her dear mother to whom she had been so devoted, Mary McKee lived 
quietly with her two children for the short period she remained in the 
Executive Mansion. 

The dress on the manikin representing her in the National Museum 
is the one she wore at her father's inaugural ball, and dates back to 
1889 which is, of course, of the bustle period. However, the material 
is a rich brocaded satin and must have been of parchment color with a 
design of golden rod - her father's favorite flower. This fabric was 
probably woven especially for her. The front of the skirt is made of 
gold taffeta covered with cream lace. An underskirt of apple green 
velvet adds to the complicated wide skirt finished with a long train. 

As a whole, this costume on young Mary McKee must have given her 
a matronly appearance, and she was so young. The decolletage is even 
covered with a net Work of silver and amber beads similar to the trimming 
of the velvet sleeves. 

Old gold slippers and gloves complete the costume, with a fan of 
the same shade. 


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These years which people then called "depressing" and many now 
mention as the "gay nineties, " one should indeed recall as a time of peac 
and wealth - an era of perfect bliss. The game of bridge which had just 
appeared in England was a good excuse for extra gowns to be fashioned for 
the gay bridge parties. Invariably wide, the skirts touched the ground 
all around and were always finished at the bottom with a brush braid of 
the same shade as the gownj it had to be replaced every now and then 
because it proved to be a floor and street sweeper. 

But the outstanding feature of the general mode was the "godet" 
style, resembling stovepipes in their stiffness. These three or more 
folds were lined entirely with haircloth, or crinoline which was less 
costly. Mo apparent seams could be noticed on the bodice which was 
gracefully draped over a well-fitted boned lining of taffeta or percaline 
The sleeves, leg-o-mutton, also lined with haircloth or crinoline, served 
to emphasize the very small waist. With the high collars and the well- 
feathered hats, the silhouette of "the Nineties" will long be remembered. 

Fur trimming contributed largely to giving women' s Winter attire 
a certain air of richness. Very few fur coats could be found in the 
stores at that time, so capes were adorned with mink, chinchilla or seal 
to add a note of distinction. 

Materials were still limited to woolen, serge, broadcloth and 
cashmere. The silk variety was as follows: taffeta, grosgrain, poult 
de soie, surah, and pongee. 

As for the colors - the greens, the browns, the blues (navy) and 


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iio lob' 

violets, were the only choice for Madame or Mademoiselle. Our dyes left 
much to be desired, and the most beautiful colors and fabrics were the 
important ones. Combinations were such as a rose colored dress with a 
cream lace yoke, a blue sash, and a hat to match the gown (adorned with 
blue ostrich feathers). A parasol of blue silk, carried by a lady wear- 
ing a white dress trimmed with orange colored ribbons, was considered in 
good taste. 

For Summer, lace and machine-made embroideries trimmed the muslin, 
percale, and linen frocks. 


During the late 90' s feminine styles followed each other with more 
or less similarity, and without much exaggeration. New modes failed to 
display many changes in the silhouette and one could observe practically 
the same contour of the feminine figure from one year to the other. 
Glamorizing the formal attire, however, a robe de style (period gown), 
copied from those of well known actresses, and very recognizable in their 
inspiration, proved to be favored by the upper class minority. 

Wide petticoats invariably worn at all times of the day (even for 
street wear) and evening, helped to support the ample and bulky jupon of 
Madame. Taffeta silk ones that caused the pleasant rustling of frou-frou 
(rich noise) were mostly worn by the -wealthy women. 

Somehow the human spirit is often reflected by la mode and certain 
phases of its periodical cycle influence our personality to a. high degree. 
Dramatic and surprising, the divided skirt or the Bloomer was the most 


2 'iolc 

no v£no &d& 3*xew 

unusual feature of this period. The "wheel, " as it was called, was 
responsible for bicycling. This popular sport for outdoor activities 
revolutionized fashion to a great extent. As far back as 18°H, when Mrs, 
Bloomer died, the bloomer or divided skirt, was already on the market. 
Made of rather heavy material it resembled a very wide rather short jupon 
stitched in the center. Reluctantly accepted, presumably on the ground 
that it altered women' s dignity, the divided skirt retained its popularity, 

MODES OF 1899 

At the close of the 19th century la mode presented a pleasant 
picture, but the outstanding innovation was the production of new materials 
which included lovely soft and light woolens, especially the cashmeres of 
Indian importation. The old-fashioned pale blues and pale greens, as well 
as pale tints of all descriptions, were seen in this supple and charming 
fabric, so admirably adapted to the soft draperies and clinging lines that 
fashion decreed. 

The styles of Spring, 1899* also featured embroidery incrustations 
of guipure, on taffeta as well as on the light woolens. Foulard silk 
gowns made with insertions of Valencienne lace, were in good taste. 

For Summer, a variety of muslin "linons" (a fine batiste) and 
perforated tissues were seen again worn over color and elaborately trimmed 
with tucks and lace, 

A very lovely model was a Marie Antoinette gown with a ruffled 
fichu, crossed over on the left side. This, made of India muslin, was 


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considered very fetching. The French designers were now all sending 
ravishing modes inspired from various periods of history, such as Marie 
Antoinette and the Directoire periods. Pompadour embroidery, on little 
vests of white satin was mentioned as "broiderie ancienne." These designs 
of faded tones (tones of the past) trimmed a gown very well. 

Even some of the Greek draperies were revived. The decolletage 
was very low for formal evening wear. 

An elaborate skirt made of several flounces was called etagere 
(shelves). The same effect was seen on the vest of the bodice opening 
to a point at the waistline. Hats were over-trimmed and very large - 
plumes, flowers, and ribbons almost covering the crown* 

This era was especially remarkable because of the important place 
that the ready-to-wear feminine clothes took, and which revolutionized the 
garment industry. There were still, however, numerous dressmaking shops 
where the elite' s clothes were made to order, copied from French models, 
or especially designed for individuals. 

Hand-made trimmings, appreciated to their full value, gave a 

personal touch to the gown or a blouse, making Madame* s attire appear 

distinctive. Furs, such as ermine and chinchilla, were used on smart 

velvet collarettes and capes. 

The hairdo continues to be a top Chignon a la Grecque . 


IDA S. McKINLEY (1897-1901) 
Mrs. McKinley wore a beautiful costume at her husband 1 s inaugural 
ball March Uth, 1897. Made of cream-white satin, embroidered with pearls 
and elaborately trimmed with real lace that gorgeous gown was designed for 


her by a New York couturier. As it was the fashion then, the waist is 
tight-fitting, the skirt full with a short train, A remarkable feature of 
this lovely gown is the high neckline and the long sleeves, but contrary 
to the Parisian style of I897 there is no fullness at the top of the 
sleeves; they are almost plain. The rest of the dress, however, is 
extremely " a la mode ," 

Mrs, McKinley wore exquisite shoes of white satin to match her 
gown. The real lace handkerchief and her gauze fan (with pearls) are also 
exhibited with the gown at the United States National Museum -in Wna>i^r4«n 

her by a New York couturier. As it was the fashion then, the waist is 
tight-fitting, the skirt full with a short train, A remarkable feature of 
this lovely gown is the high neckline and the long sleeves, but contrary 
to the Parisian style of I897 there is no fullness at the top of the 
sleeves; they are almost plain. The rest of the dress, however, is 
extremely " a la mode ," 

Mrs, McKinley wore exquisite shoes of white satin to match her 
gown. The real lace handkerchief and her gauze fan (with pearls) are also 
exhibited with the gown at the United States National Museum in Washington, 
D, C, It is one of the most beautiful creations of the wonderful collec- 
tion of gowns on the many manikins representing the mistresses of the White 
House. The hairdo is rather plain, marcel waved and close to the head, 
showing the ears without earrings. 





Twentieth Century - Styles of 1900 - 1901 - 1903 - WU - 
190S - 1906 - 1907 - 1908 - 1909 - 1910 - 1911 - 
Transition Period - Elaborate and Eccentric Modes - Large Hats - 
Willow Plumes - Luxurious Furs - New Corsets - New Colors - 
New Shoes 


The marked exaggeration of the Fall modes as we begin the Twentieth 
Century surpasses that of previous years. It is to be a dazzling Fall and 
a new and elegant Winter, if we are to go by the models that have appeared 
in the glamorous showings of fashions in Paris and New York. 

More than ever, the machine with its many and perfected attachments 
is a wonderful help to the dress industry. It is said - sometimes with 
dismay - that the modes are complicated, but they are gorgeous and the 
details artistically displayed on the frocks emphasize the very small waist, 
the graceful neckline, and the short, puffy sleeves. 

Taffeta petticoats with accordion-plaited ruffles are still worn 
with the full skirt trailing and sweeping the ground. There is considerable 
interest about formal dress among both men and women. The vogue for this 
kind of attire accentuates the important part social events play in the life 
of the modern Americans, whose fabulous wealth is the talk of Europe. 
Leading fashion centers cater to this high class of society, and models 
from Paris are more and more popular. 

The role of fashion nowadays is the chief concern of the couturiers 

- jjOQI - £<X>1 - X09I - 0091 eelY*8 - 


and designers, and no matter -what styles cost they know that the latest fad 
will be accepted immediately. After all, fashion is self-expressed, and 
the elegance of women's dress as we enter into this new era is significant 
of the progressing and prosperous times in which we live. There is no 
remarkable change in the general style, but we note, however, that there is 
less hip padding and also less of a bustle. 

For the majority of women, ideas on fashion are beginning to be 
freer and more adaptable to our ways of life; there are so many women now 
earning their living. There are also a number of sports open to the weaker 
sex. The bicycle continues in large measure, to influence the manufacture 
of sport clothes, which are gaining in popularity. 

Embroidered and tucked shirt waists are featured, worn with black 
broadcloth skirts. The silks and gingham for these charming blouses are 
striped generally of two or even three colors. 

Lace is used in profusion, especially for evening wear. The 
decolletage of these frocks is what the French call " risque" ; it is so very low. 

The wraps are fancy affairs of two materials combined in vivid colors. 
We are astonished at the very extraordinary color harmonies that are so much 
brighter than what we have been used to before the turn of the Century. It 
is not rare to see an evening gown of pink " poult de soie " trimmed with 
cream lace and having a wide bright blue belt, or a white evening gown 
embroidered and trimmed with yellow and worn under a blue and mauve 
evening wrap. 

It is most interesting to compare the various modern fashions with 
the plain costumes of American pioneers. 


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Suggested by the importance of the Pan American Exposition In 
Buffalo, dress becomes a significant factor for women planning to attend 
this extraordinary affair. The opening promises to be a gorgeous and 
fashionable event* Encouraged by the prospect of having to wear new 
gowns, American women have prepared astonishing and very up-to-date ward- 
robes for every occasion. 

The general lines of the silhouette have not been greatly altered 
since the turn of the Century, but the materials and trimmings are rich and 
beautiful. In spite of the trailing skirt still finished with the balayeuse 
(brush braid), the graceful line of the Spanish flounce gives Madame an air 
of opulence and distinction, 

Parisian and New York designers have exercised unusual skill in 
designing models that are almost breath-taking. Trimmings such as soutache 
braid, are favored on the travelling coats and tailleurs (three-quarter 
length coats) , The short Eton, a comparatively new mode, is chic, espec- 
ially when made of taffeta silk. The high neckline features the afternoon 
frock, while a deep decolletage is observed on formal attire, for the 
attendance at a "Premiere" or for balls given in honor of the many foreign 

It is a joy to see such a wide range of varied brilliant tones on 
all styles of dresses. With the fame of Modern Art, colors are occasionally 
borrowed from the toiles (canvasses) of these artists, French and American 
painters. Lovely soft grays, rose-color, apple-green, and mauve, are the 
principal colors. 

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An excellent machine-made imitation of Venetian point lace is favored 
as dress yoke trimming, Fagotting is very much a la mode, so much so that 
clever fagotted ribbons (machine made) may be bought by the yard and attached 
on the gown instead of hand made stitches. 

For underwear, an overtrimmed batiste or nainsook chemise, replacing 
the corset cover, is an outstanding feature of this year. It is adorned 
with ruffles edged with torchon or imitation Valencienne lace. The ruffles 
serve to help out the flat-bosomed girl, A set of lingerie is composed of 
a pair of drawers, a chemise, and a night dress, elaborately trimmed 
exactly the same. For a bride, the set is often made of pongee or China 

Ostrich feathers, plumets, and flowers, cover Madame* s moderate- 
sized chapeau. There is much concern now from the Society for the Prevention 
of Cruelty to Animals because of the many birds being killed to trim ladies 1 
head gear, 

A parasol of contrasting hues nearly always completes Madame* s 
toilette. Umbrellas, however, have extremely long handles. 

The very pointed toe shoe occasionally discloses itself when Milady 
holds her long skirt to go up or down a stairway. 

Feather boas are in vogue. 

For coat collars, furs promise to be a must for the Fall, Advanced 
style shows exhibit fitch, Alaska martin, mink, and mole skin, but the 
wealthy class will again indulge in Russian sable, ermine, and occasionally 

00 'XC 



At last, this year's (1903) clothes are easier to select, and 
fascinating fashions are in the spotlight. The classic outfit, evening 
gowns and -wraps, are decidedly adaptable to the many and varied social 
activities* Now that women have definitely penetrated into men's business 
domain, the practical point of view of dress in the usual course of women's 
everyday life is considered with astonishing thoughtfulness. It is espec- 
ially pleasing that American designers are succeeding in reducing the super- 
fluous details so unnecessary on our business women' s clothes, whose posi- 
tion, however, demands stylish and up-to-date dressing. 

This is a most interesting period in the life of women, with so 
many careers opened to them, especially in our large cities. The glittering 
gorgeousness of fashion creates an enthusiasm rarely witnessed among the 
poor and middle class working girls, who, with the help of the commercial 
patterns and the usual ability to sew, spend evening after evening making 
new clothes. 

The short bolero is still a favorite, but the main characteristic 
seems to be the white and colored shirt waist, now called a blouse (plain 
and "peek-a-boo"). This style shows off admirably the type of feminine 
figure drawn by the celebrated artist Charles Dana Gibson, The very tight 
waist line, the high bustline, the full flounced skirt usually made of 
black broadcloth, serge, or equally smart woolen fabric, enhance Madame 's 
silhouette and also emphasize her fantastic tut (caused by the straight- 
front corset). An exaggerated pointed belt terminated with a buckle or 
ornament of some kind, completes the costume,. 

JLsl ooe bsx'ii 



Our novel means of transportation, such as the horseless carriage 
and the gasoline yacht, whose progress we have been watching with great 
astonishment, is responsible for the new and special outfits to be worn 
when travelling in these queer vehicles. For instance, what we call "the 
duster" is a long, practical, and quite elegant coat made of "impermeable" 
(to protect from dust and water) material worn over a pretty dress or suit. 
With this "duster, " fashion and necessity decree a long veil placed over 
the stylish broad-brimmed hat and tied securely under the chin. Thus 
attired, what comfort it is to drive in the country at the terrific rate 
of twenty or even more miles per hour I 

Of an entirely different character is a plain blue serge or chevigb 
suit which we do enjoy wearing with a tailor-made shirt waist, high neck- 
line, white stiff collar, and a small black velvet bow; even a colored 
four-in-hand cravat of grosgrain silk ribbon is chic, though masculine 

"La mode est un tyrant" (fashion is a tyrant) exclaimed a French 
writer. But how fascinating and charming it is in its many caprices I 

Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt, the gracious mistress of the White House 

during the seven years of Theodore Roosevelt's administration, dressed 

stylishly though in conservative modes* 

The gown she wore at the inauguration ball, was a gorgeous affair 

of robin's egg blue brocaded satin (woven in the United States) with 

motifs of gold thread in a design that appears like small birds. The 


alow ed oi soTij 

rather stiff manikin shows the dress to advantage, however. A bertha 
of real point lace adorns the low decolletage, but the bodice is quite 
plain otherwise. The skirt falls in graceful folds and is finished 
with a short train. Her jewelry consisted of a diamond necklace. It 
took quite a long time to persuade Mrs. Roosevelt to send her gown to be 
exhibited in the National Museum, and it was through her daughter, Mrs. 
Derby, that the gown was finally obtained. 

Mrs. Roosevelt's simple hairdo impressed many American ladies who 
copied her style. 


Several radical changes of style are taking place and the French 
designers vie with each other in the launching of new ideas. The skirts, 
extremely wide, replace the narrow ones which have been worn for a few 
years and the Eton jacket is the style that seems the most popular for 
Spring. For Winter, velvet was the most stylish fabric, while broadcloth 
came a good second for suits and separate skirts, but now serge and tweeds 
feature the Spring modes. Coats were often trimmed with fur, mink, or 
Alaska marten, or with natural seal, but a few fur coats were seen on 
various occasions. They were made of Hudson seal, dyed muskrat, or 
Persian lamb, and sometimes of grey squirrel. 

Dainty white blouses of voile and marquisette trijnmed with lace 
are seen everywhere with dark full skirts. They form a dressy outfit for 
various social functions. The yokes on dresses are often fagot ted and 
quite fancy; pin tucks, and shirring trim all kinds of frocks which are 


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almost always made of thin woolen material, such as voile, cashmere, 
vayella cloth, challis, and nun svei ling. 

The Princess dress that appeared in the Paris Spring openings is 
tight-fitting over a whale-boned waist lining and a taffeta petticoat. 
Underwear garments of nainsook or cotton are trimmed with lace and 
clusters of handmade tucks. The word "lingerie" is used to express the 
meaning of underbhings composed of a combination of lawn, fine nainsook, 
or muslin, lace and embroidery; sometimes even blouses, A very popular 
lace is the "torchon" which is a handmade lace imported from France and 
Switzerland - it resembles the Clxuay, The machine made embroidery called 
Hamburg often replaces lace which is too high priced, Irish lace and 
Princess lace, often trim dresses, and sometimes a whole waist is made 
of one of these real laces. 

People who go to Europe nearly always bring back a Bertha of 
Dutchess or Rose Point lace to be used generally on wedding gowns. 

The high boots continue to be worn by every woman; they are 
buttoned and made of kid or ordinary leather. They are mostly black, 
as are also the stockings which are either cotton, silk, lisle for 
Summer, and cashmere for Winter, 


The most important factor to consider at present is what one calls 
the foundation garment which is extremely well fitted to the body; the 
dress is then draped and sewed over it. 

Women's clothes are made by dressmakers who charge very high prices, 


.fens sobI ritjftr bftircJr'ic 

sometimes as much as $25.00. Designers frequently go to Paris once or even 
twice a year, and bring back to America the latest and most expensive models 
from the select and various French fashion shows. The dresses are lined 
with taffeta silk; less expensive frocks have percaline foundations which 
are all boned in front, sides, and back, much less, however, than before 
the turn of the Century, Plain or knife plaited ruffles generally trim 
the skirt of the lining. All skirts measure approximately four or five 
yards around. The Princess frock remains in style. 

House gowns for morning, often worn without the corset, hold an 
important place in Milady's wardrobe. Very smart ones are called Empire 
Negliges. The skirts of these informal frocks are not very wide, not 
much more than three yards without the ruffle, but six or seven yards 
with the ruffles. We quite often hear the word "wrapper" to describe 
these models which are made of various kinds of fabrics; for Winter,- 
challis, cheviot, serge, broadcloth, Vayella cloth and velvet, and for 
Summer, muslins, percale, flowered dimity, gingham, Crepe de Chine. 
Light weight materials are very popular for evening wear with satin for 
a change. Shantung and pongee silks are popular for daytime frocks. 
But for business, young girls remain faithful to the shirtwaist and 
separate dark skirt. An occasional fancy belt and pretty neckline 
relieves the monotony of this favorite attire. Brown, powder blue, 
white, and black are the favorite colors. 

High boots, buttoned or laced, continue to be varied and quite 
handsome, but low shoes are gaining in popularity. Hidden by the very 
long skirts worn by every woman, the shoes and stockings are mostly black, 


wori.8 n 


Hats are fussy affairs of velvet, felts, straw, and braided 
chenille hand made, trimmed with plumes, silk or velvet flowers; they are 
an important part of a well dressed woman, 

The numerous models that come from Paris (in the Spring of 1908) 
from the various couturiers are considered sensible in their unusual 

Women's clothes are, however, extremely feminine, beautifully cut 
and made of soft material, in colors varying from gray, silvery grey, 
blues known as Nattier, Watteau, and Athenian shades to soft lovely warm 
browns, especially beautiful in the silk tissues. For tailor-made suits, 
a brown with an almost invisible grey thread woven into the material is 
very much in vogue, also the new green material with broken lines of black 
or grey. A color that was adopted right away when it appeared is a plum 
shade somewhat softer, however, than the tone of past years. 

Plaids are about the most stylish fabric for separate skirts. 
They are either plaited or very full at the bottomj quite short - just 
above the ankle, hiding the top of the boots. 

Mannish shirt waists are occasionally worn with these skirts; 
the sleeves are plainer but still full at the top, and long on the tailor- 
made blouses. Yokes are decidedly in style; tucks, and invariably lace, 
trim these thin material blouses. 

Foulard, taffeta, pongee are favored, while organdies, muslin, and 
flowered material (rather old-fashioned, called "Dolly Varden" by our 


greatgrandmothers) are to be worn next Summer. As a whole, materials are 
all very practical and offer a wide range of coloring that can be used 
for suitable clothes. 

The in-between tailored suits made of the heavier silks, such as 
pongee and rajah, are more serviceable. Hats are still very large. 

Until now complicated modes have featured the many imported French 
models which inspired New York designers. The skirts are not full but 
elaborately trimmed with lace, braid, and embroidery. Young French 
couturiers launched new modes suggesting a revival of Empire styles 
(Josephine Bonaparte), but women accustomed to more intricate styles do 
not seem to adopt these new fashions as readily as others have in past 
years. Evening dresses emphasize new styles of the high-waist bodice. 
The very low decolletage such as it was observed at the Court of the first 
French Empire (which seems to be recaptured here at the various formal 
social functions) and the long narrow skirt with the train remain in 
vogue. New and chic, is a soft chiffon ruffle of a contrasting tone 
terminating the hemline of the skirt. 

For daytime wear, the high neckline and long fitting sleeves are 
seen on all styles of frocks. Sometimes a certain masculine effect is 
rather dashing in a coat or tailleur for the busy young woman. Peacock 
blue, brown, and black are the colors of afternoon costumes and business 
outfits. Yellow, Belgian blue, cerise, and white are for formal evening 


m tB^Iie iQiv&ert ed& So Bbsm actors haioixa^ a©9Wj l 9t 

For Fall and Winter, the coats will be shorter than the gown, and 
fur scarves, along with the enormous muff that nade its appearance last 
Winter, will complete Madame 1 s toilette. 

The parasol, which serves a double purpose, is still in vogue for 
protection from both rain and sun. For formal attire, the fan is another 
stylish adjunct. 

Milady 1 s coiffure is the neatly marcelled hair with a small psyche 
under her extremely large chapeau elaborately trimmed with plumes or a 
profusion of various adornments. 

Oxfords are occasionally worn for walking, also with sport clothes, 
but high buttoned kid boots keep their popularity for daytime wear. 

Chinese silk is so fashionable that even wedding gowns are made of 
that soft tissue, replacing the classic ivory satin or lace bridal dress 
of the past. 

HELEN HERRQM TAFT (1909-1913) 

Mrs. Taft, an attractive and fashionable person, dressed well in 
the latest Parisian "mode." 

Her gown was the first one to be placed in the Smithsonian Institute 
as an important part of the now famous collection of dresses having been 
worn by the First Ladies of the White House, and she had the pleasure of 
seeing it on the manikin representing her. That wonderful exhibition 
opened during her husband 1 s term of office as the twenty-seventh President 
of the United States. 

The gown in question is the one Mrs. Taft wore at the Inaugural 

'.Lite ax t 980?riirq t 

ball. Made of white chiffon, it is beautifully hand embroidered with silk 
thread and rhinestcnes, in a golden rod design, executed by Japanese work- 
ers. The Empire style of this lovely formal attire has a moderately full 
skirt touching the ground all around with a rather short train. The 
bodice, with its very high waistline, has a square shape low decolletage. 
The short plain set-in sleeves are also elaborately covered with embroidery. 
Her hairdo appears to be the popular marcel wave coiffure. 


This is to be a remarkable year (1910) for styles; the large hats, 
and the outstanding "tailleur" (tailor-made suit) is mostly made of blue 
serge. The white blouses, still called shirtwaists, add a note of distinc- 
tion to Madame' s severe toilette. 

English tailored modes have considerably influenced the French 
couturiers in their creations. The tailleur jacket is more or less mascu- 
line in lines with the shoulder sloping. Some of these costumes are 
called Norfolk suits; an unusual and odd array of light hues for these 
suits (champagne, pearl grey, and even cream color) are rather elegant, 
but very impractical. These styles are often called in England "late 

Edwardian." The French models with more or less sumptuousness continue 
to be favored by the high class of Americans who are still going to Paris 
regularly in quest of new styles. There is a noticeable display of 
luxurious velvet frocks among the new French models. For formal wear the 
principal characteristic is the Empire gown worn mostly at evening functions. 

Manufactured clothes are gaining in popularity, especially the suits 



and coats made of beautiful English woolen fabrics. 

Large hats are elaborately adorned with flowers, ribbons, and 
feathers, among which is the willow plume, the latest innovation. The 
invention of this extraordinary trimming which sells for as much as 
$2£.00 apiece, is credited to a French milliner. It seems that a Parisian 
modiste, remaining in his shop after closing hours, noticed the floor was 
practically covered with bits of ostrich feathers, evidently fallen from 
the plumes while being curled. He then spent the entire night tying 
three or even four of these stray bits to an ordinary ostrich feather, 
thus the "willow" plume was born and exhibited proudly on a large hat, 
almost covering the entire crown. Its popularity made fashion history, 
Madame' s coiffure is a mass of puffs perched on top of a marcel 
hairdo. These puffs are often bought and added to the natural hair. 

As for shoes, the pumps have just appeared, made of patent leather, 
kid, or satin for evening wear. 

19 J O 


1912 - The Hobble Skirt - Pointed Shoe - Large Hats - Flowers - 

1913 Fashions - Eccentricity of the Modes - The Bustle and 
Bouffant - Embroidery Trimmings - Lace 


The "hobble" skirt gives the fashionable ladies a mincing gait 
because the ridiculous garment permits only extremely short steps, and 
running becomes impossible, A pretty girl waiting for a street car, and 
then trying to get on, causes much merriment among the men who often miss 
their own; frequently help is required in order to reach the platform of 
that important conveyance. 

We are all looking forward to new modes which we hope will soon 
relieve us of this absurd fashion. While one realizes that present styles 
take quite awhile to go out and new ones are seldom accepted before six 
months or even a year, we are all very sure that wider skirts will be a 
most pleasing innovation. 

The colors are not as beautiful as they were last year; the new 
mustard tones combined with brown is more or less monotonous. But there 
is a green, worn especially for evening frocks called "Epinard" (spinach) 
which is rather smart when the frock has a cream lace bodice top set off 
by American beauty colored flowers. 

Short jackets (Eton style) of contrasting material from that of 
skirt are machine-braided. This new feature is very popular for afternoon 
outdoor costumes; a note of elegance is added by fur trimming. 


The Textile Industry has not yet presented any material of great 
novelty. But there are rumors of a fabric resembling silk which is shown 
at present in the various exhibitions of textile - its appearance is 
similar to paper. 

Decidedly, there is a note of beauty in the printed silks and 
velvets that are now featured, and women are satisfied with these elegant 

The conventionalized flower and leaf design on a gray, blue, or 
brown background is frequently observed on daytime frocks especially. A 
rather large dark checked woolen material is in vogue for suits, with a 
touch of bright color (vest, collar, and cuffs). Buttons used as a sort 
of decorative alluring detail are often seen on these vests. A bit of 
fur trinming enhances the complete street costume of Madame or Mademoiselle. 

The shoes are still pointed with high heels. It is really the 
first time in years that the color of footwear seems important; even the 
stockings are not exclusively black. Hosiery occasionally comes in gray, 
and champagne-colored silks. With this "hobble" style of skirt, women 
are now conscious of the appearance of their legs. 

Hats continue to be large and worn well over the forehead; there 
is a tilt over the right eye which is smart. The trimming consists of 
plumes, aigrettes, and ribbon for the smaller chapeau. 

The gown on Mrs. Wilson's manikin is made of the new fabric 
(chenille brocade). Sent by her daughter Margaret, it is a la mode in 



the style of 1913; that is, a hobble skirt made of rich material. Sleeves 
are short and plain at the armseye. This stylish frock is also adorned 
with rhinestones. It is partly Princess style, fitted closely to the 

Pearls were beginning to be fashionable, and Mrs, Wilson's manikin 
shows a long string of these; it is not said whether they are real however. 

Her hairdo is a set Marcel style so much worn at that tine with 
several puffs on top of her head. 

A sweeping train terminates the long skirt, which does not seem to 
have the slit in front that most stylish gowns had in these days because 
of the narrow skirts. 


The fashions now (1913) are at last easier to wear, more comfortable, 
and also more beautiful; influenced by the modern artistic movement, they 
are somewhat exaggerated, however. 

It seems as if everyone is going to Europe. Gorgeous and elegant 
Parisian frocks of surah, pongee, and taffeta silks are copied by American 
designers, but with a variety of color harmonies. 

The general cut of women's clothes has been altered in many ways, 
but the latest French models still show the narrow skirt - what may be 
rightly called "improved hobble" with a slit in the front. This new 
detail makes it more comfortable. It is still long, but permits greater 
freedom of movement than did last year's style. The bustle imitation 
(inspired by the 15>th Century) in back of the skirt emphasizes the small 

1 Azk'-. 



quite high waistline which almost encircles the bust with a wide belt. 
The l£th Century inspiration is also obvious in the neckline; it is often 
finished in a tailor-made style - a white collar, and a small ribbon bow. 
Surplice effect on the bodice is another smart innovation of this partic- 
ular period, but no change seems to occur in the general cut of the sleeves 
which continue to be short, long, close to the arm, or often even kimona 
style on many afternoon dresses. 

For evening wear, gowns are occasionally almost sleeveless - long 
narrow thin crepe-de-chine scarves, terminated by a tassel, are gracefully 
thrown over one's shoulders. Short jackets, elaborately trimmed with fur, 
will be a part of Milady 1 s trousseau for the cold season. 

Colors are limited, with practically no variety; green, gray, 
Belgian blue, nearly always relieved by a touch of white, generally in the 
form of a vest and collar, especially for daytime frocks. 








New Modes - The War Years 191U to 1918 - The Armistice - 
1919 - Modes - Radical Styles - Paris Dictates - New- 
Materials - New Colors - Original Trimmings. 


The narrow skirt, which had been the most remarkable feature of 
1912 and 1913, was still worn during the first part of this year. But the 
Fall brings in new modes that are much more comfortable and more in keep- 
ing with the present world conditions. 

The most noticeable change in women's clothes is the shorter and 
fuller skirt (just above the boots) which is shown on practically every 
French model. This new innovation may be termed drastic; however, it is 
adopted by a large majority of women who are pleased with this unusual 
deviation from the general skirt styles of the past years. There are also 
full overskirts worn with narrower ones, and this style is considered 
very chic. 

What is called a "jumper dress" worn over a white blouse, is smart, 
especially among young girls. An entirely new fad is the pocket, either 
on one side or on both sides of the full skirt. 

The radical change on Madame' s costume is, no doubt, inspired and 
accentuated by the occurrence of the European conflict, which influences 
the French couturiers in a large measure. Lace collars often adom 
V-shaped neckline which remains in style. 

As for the materials that are mostly in vogue, taffeta, serge, 



tweeds for suits, crepe-de-chine, and for Summer,- organdie, gingham, linen, 
surah, pongee silks, continue to be in style. But velvet and broadcloth 
keep their popularity for Fall and Winter garments. There is a new fabric 
called artificial silk which is rather stiff resembling silk and mostly- 
used for men f s shirts. It promises to replace some of our favorite 
tissues, but it is far from popular at present. It is rumored that this 
new material is being perfected to take an important place in the textile 

Until now, women were satisfied with silk, cotton, linen, and wool, 
and they do not feel kindly towards this new fabric, which looks too much 
like paper. It is shown a great deal in the textile centers, and causes 
no end of merriment. 

As early as the Spring of 1902, a suit of this odd imported fabric 
was worn by a stylish American girl who proudly boasted of her unusual good 
fortune in having such an original and chic outfit. The skirt was full, 
as it was worn at that time, with the jacket short and well tailored. She 
wore it several times on pleasant sunny days, but on one sad occasion when 
she was caught in the rain, not only did this lovely outfit shrink dread- 
fully, but it acted like paper and large pieces were torn right off from 
the dress. Her dismay and embarrassment left no alternative - she had to 
resort to a carriage to get home. 

Even now (191U), improved as this new textile is, which appears 
occasionally on the market, woven with finer threads, it seems extremely 
doubtful that it could be used as lavishly as cotton or silk. With the 
dyes of gorgeous colors difficult to find here in the United States, while 


the war lasts, there are very few new shades obvious on the new models. 
Khaki color, however, is in the limelight, especially for suits. There is 
also an abundance of black and white combinations. 

Trimmings, such as lace, fagotting, and embroidery, are used pro- 
fusely on all kinds of frocks. There is a note of symbolism on the many 
and varied motifs of embroidery, such as stars, etc., a certain Indian 
influence in embroidery. 

Madame' s chapeau is large, trimmed with plumes around the crown. 
An important part of her costume is the leather bag. 

As a whole, despite the war in Europe, fashions are still triumph- 
antly glamorizing American women's life in the matter of dress, 


Europe is aflame with destruction; it is most astonishing that 
Paris designers are sending such lovely models during this troubled period. 
The cut of their styles is not radical in the general sense of this word, 
but there is a certain military appearance in the outdoor garment espec- 
ially inspired by the conflict. 

The majority of women wear their gowns short to the ankle, just 
above the buttoned boot. A very full over skirt remains fashionable, and 
the bustle effect has completely disappeared. A waistline, emphasized 
by a wide and soft girdle, is a feature of the season. Finished with a 
lace collar or chiffon ruffles, the V-neck is not too low, but extremely 
feminine looking. Kimona sleeves are stylish and popular. Fur collars 
and cuffs are the high light of the loose and full coats. As a most 



a ^ 9V1 

practical and charming innovation, the jumper dress is gaining in popularity, 

Belgian blue, a new wisteria shade, also khaki color, relieved by- 
white ruffles or lace, are the colors for afternoon gowns. Black remains 
a favorite for certain occasions, 

Madame' s chapeau is the "cloche" trimmed very simply with a quill 
or a ribbon bow in the back. 

Low shoes are favored by the majority of women, because of their 
suitability, comfort, ease, and also cheaper, due to the high cost of 

This gracious First Lady of the Land was not only stately and 
handsome, but her clothes were stylish and chic in every detail. 

The gown on her manikin is made of black velvet relieved only by 
green beads at the square low decolletage. It is trimmed with jet on 
illusion (tulle). The sleeves are short but terminated with a point 
hanging past the hips. The skirt is narrow as the fashion dictated 
during World War I, Draped from the waist, the train is also narrow and 
not very long. It is said that this dress was among the formal gowns 
of her trousseau; she wore it in Paris at several social functions when 
she accompanied her husband, President Wilson, on his famous trip to the 
European continent* , Her hair is dressed in a mass of beautiful curls, 

In Europe the war continues with no sign of peace, and we are 
still a neutral country, nevertheless, styles are being imported from 




Paris. The American designers, just back from the Paris openings, 
expressed their astonishment and dismay; they were puzzled as to what they 
were going to accept of all these apparently impractical styles of the 
Second Empire which had obviously influenced the French couturiers. These 
fashions could hardly fit into our modern American life. The wide-spread 
skirts seemed almost unwearable and the picturesque Empress Eugenie sil- 
houette of i860 appeared absolutely out of place in our present mode of 
living. But after taking these French models home, the American couturiers 
realized that the fashions of 1916, though designed from the Second Empire, 
adapt themselves beautifully to the American ways of life, as the hoop is 
gracefully placed between the hips and the knee, thus allowing the usual 
freedom of movement necessary to various activities. It is said that 
these extremely wide skirts with the "bouffant" effect take as much as 
l£ yards of material as compared to the five and six yards of a few years 

This drastic change of feminine fashion influenced the New York 
couturiers after it reached our shores. They skilfully modified these 
fashions for American needs, though the main lines of all models remain 
entirely Parisian in effect. Our soft, easy to drape textiles are 
instrumental in the adaptation of these French modes, and even with 
plaits, shirring, and bouffants, there is still an appearance of straight 
line in the feminine silhouette. The sleeve styles vary - they are short 
and long; the neckline V-shape or square, and some are very low. 

A very happy event of 1916 in the Paris world of fashions is the 
return of Madame Paquin as the director of that old and famous house of 



styles. Not only is she an exceptional designer of feminine attire, but it 
is said that she also combines with that artistic and business ability the 
qualities of beauty and charm. 

It is rumored that these general modes may remain such as they are 
until the end of the war, and that date, of course, is problematical. 
But the French woman, busy with her numerous war problems, wears the same 
tailor-made clothes, what is generally called "tailleur." Eton jackets 
seem to be a favorite for Summer fashions. 


Among the new evening dresses from Paris in the Spring of 1918 is 
the 12th Century tunic which influenced evening gowns as well as those of 
the less formal occasions. However, there exists a vast difference in 
the effect of the informal and the formal women's attire. 

For evening wear a narrow, somewhat clinging, slip of satin or 
metallic cloth over which is draped a transparent and much wider overdress. 
It is almost always made of thin fabric and is sometimes quite voluminous. 
The slip is cut like a chemise; the decolletage is low, while the sleeves 
are long and ample like the Moyen Age style. 

The whole effect of such an evening gown is quite remarkable in 
its beauty. Doucet presents his fashion in a most unique manner - an 
underslip fitted like a corselet, with a short skirt of soft gold tissue. 
The undulating movement of the body is really more graceful when it is 
observed under the transparent chemise overdress. There are chemise 
gowns of rare lace, the lace having been dyed soft shades of rose, cloudy 


gray, or pale blue. Those marvelous creations are worn over slim underslips 
of steel silver or gold tissue, A brilliant note of color is produced by 
a sash, either of Chinese blue taffeta or of Chinese red brocaded silk. 
Wide ribbons are often used with one end trailing at the back panel. 
This effect adds to the elegance of the short train. 


A great variety of models are still coming from Paris this Fall 
(1918), and the established fashion of the Panier is admitted by all 
stylish women. At times it appears rather simple, yet it is also 
occasionally exaggerated, especially on evening gowns for young women. 
After wearing straight lines for such a long period, one is relieved with 
this significant change in the skirt style. Bouffants of all kinds feature 
the general style of the gown. Flounces are also favored in the variety of 
their mode - as many as five of these, varied in their width and style, 
adom the ankle-length skirts quite elaborately. These skirts are called 
short, but in Paris they are barely above the ankle. 

The sleeves are worn short, long, and elbow length, and are close, 
fitting nicely into the arm hole. The long ones are often rather wide at 
the bottom and lined with a different colored silk. 

With the natural waistline, a bodice is occasionally somewhat 
blousy, being slightly raised when hip bouffants feature the skirt styles. 
The bodice is cut very low, especially in the back, for evening wear. It 
seems quite astonishing that women should expose so much of their skin. 
The effect of a certain wrinkled fullness above the waistline at the front 


is very popular. For daytime wear, the neckline is rather high, sometimes 
finished with a small bow for a tailor-made masculine effect. 

As a whole, the gowns are more or less complicated with the paniers 
and bouffants on the hips, then the full skirt over a close fitting under- 
skirt generally of a shade lighter than the dress. The jackets, knee- 
length or below the larger part of the hips, are tailor-made with a collar 
and revers; pockets are conspicuous by the flap that completes them. 

The fabrics are still beautiful in their variety of new shades. 
The silks, Chippendale foulard, Paulette satin, Tricot silks (Jersey) 
are worn at all times, it seems; black velvet remains a favorite, however. 

An overdress for evening wear is made of tulle or Paulette chiffon, 
both of which are thin and delicate tissues. Gloveskin, duvetyn, and 
Kitten 1 s-ear crepe are extremely popular for formal occasions, especially 
in a Panier effect. Black velvet, so flattering to the figure, is also 
used for evening frocks. As for trimmings, feathers are employed, not 
always ostrich but also pheasant and chicken feathers dyed in the various 
colors of the gowns. They are chic. 

A bodice, designed of flowers and joined to a black skirt on which 
red and purple bells fall from a girdle of one kind of flowers, is the 
smart creation of one French designer. The colors, launched by another 
couturier, are mostly purple, green, gold, rose, and bright red. 

The furs, either worn as a trimming or for practical purposes, are 
caracul and ermine. The usual Kolinsky, grey squirrel, and opossum still 
remain in vogue. Queer combinations of certain fabrics, like linen trimmed 
with bits of fur, are occasionally seen at various stylish places on the 
Cote d'Azur, France. 


Printed in beautiful Persian and Indian designs, panne velvet is 
extremely popular. Blue seems to be replaced by red and bright green, 
but the red is ruby shade. There is still a great deal of black and white 
used by some designers, "while others feature a bluish shade of gray and 
use black with red or beige. 

Different designers show various modes of paniers. Some are merely 
a graceful sort of "bouffants," while others are voluminous. The latter 
are called "Le Diamant Noir." With this large panier the skirt is a bit 
longer in front and back than on the sides. 

A striking model seen in New York, was a black frock trimmed with 
a red called "Jour de Gloire." It is hard to define the exact meaning of 
this name. A certain Russian influence (the war is still going on) may be 
observed in some of those new models imported from Paris. These very 
furry frocks are really overbrimmed with that black fur called "Moscow." 
Even monkey fur seems a favorite on many of the styles of Fall garments. 

Hats are of every description, but becomingly designed for every 
shape of face, mushroom brim, or a tailored chapeau, which is extremely 
simply in line, quite often entirely without trimming. 

The shoe is not a serious problem since the pump with high heels 
and buckle is worn on all occasions, but the Oxford low shoe still keeps 
its popularity and vogue for shopping and daytime wear. 


now fisv.''- 

Bfloiajsorjo lis oc 





1920 Readjustment Period - 1921 - 1922 - 1923 - Prosperity - 
Bright Coloring - Wealth of Beautiful Materials and Furs - 
New Era on Clothes - New Fabrics in Vogue. 


Among the remarkable styles of this season, organdie and serge serve 
to create two distinct kinds of silhouette, one slender, the other one 
"bouffant," but the slim silhouette is rather new. The side effect of bows 
and panels remain in favor, also accordeon plaited ruffles on skirts and at 
the neck. As for the neckline, it varies very little, either batteau or 
V-shape rather low, but mostly round. Collars are occasionally high, and 
often rolled over, but nearly always elaborately trimmed. 

A number of stylish dresses of tulle, net, lace, are transparent, 
and for a "robe d'interieur" (afternoon dress) a light colored tulle 
adorned with small silver flowers, around the neck and on the sash, is 
an example. Trimmings are odd, and embroidery is everywhere on the gowns 
and blouses which continue to be fashionable. Many blouses are made of 
thin white fabric, handkerchief linen, marquisette and muslin. They are 
nearly always overtrimmed with ruffles, lace and tucks. An overblouse 
worn with a knife plaited or plain skirt, is long, about seven inches 
below the waist line, and the hem of these overblouses is more or less 
fancy. We find that embroidery motifs are mostly of Persian influence. 
Fringe and flat ribbon flowers trim daytime and evening gowns. There are 


1 . 

many styles of sleeves, long, puffy, and short, elbow length, finished 
with raffles. 

Winter furs are not at all popular, the high and rolled over 
collar on the cloth coats making fur unnecessary. Fall modes may possibly 
bring new innovations in the line of outdoor garments, but fur pieces are 
not as chic as they have been at certain times in the past years. 

As a whole, there are many clever fashion schemes, though women's 
elaborate dress is extremely artistic in character. The many color 
harmonies, mostly complementary, are varied and numerous in their unusual 
arrangements, but black remains a favorite, relieved with artistic 
embroidered motifs of antique inspiration. Sunset hues are often combined 
with blue as the main color, also with dark and light contrasts. 

This is actually a readjustment year - it is really the first time 
since the Armistice that women can depart from the conservative and prac- 
tical ways of the war years. Cosmetics are used profusely. With night 
life, dancing and travel, the fair sex becomes daring, and every phase 
of la mode appears exaggerated - even posture (with the short skirt) in 
fashion. Odd movements of the figure are noticeable. An influence of 
importance is the cinema (movie). Young girls especially, often take 
their inspiration from a favorite actress 

In the limelight this year is the permanent wave appearing in the 
United States. American women rejoice in this new method of curling their 
hair - that coiffure is supposed to remain in place almost a year. Intro- 
duced in London by Charles Nesler about the turn of the Century, the 
machine for permanent waving, was not used before the war. However, this 




hairdo is extremely expensive, at present* 

Hats are large and medium size, worn almost over the eyes and with 
a veil; trimmings are not elaborate but ribbon remains the favorite. 

Shoes are low with a pointed toe and high French heels, made of 
kid with or without buckles, but the high buttoned shoe has not entirely- 
disappeared from the market. 


Again and again, historic influence of the French modes is felt, 
although it is more or less difficult to tell at a glance just what has 
been borrowed from these historic period costumes. 

There is an evening dress called Robe de Styles which is a creation 
launched by one of the designers. The bodice recalls the Italian Renaissance 
period finished with a lace Bertha. This unusual gown is apparently gaining 
in vogue, especially for formal occasions. 

For evening wear, the natural waistline seems to prevail, sometimes 
almost imitating the Empire style. The girdleless long gown, moulded to 
the figure, is decidedly "Moyen Age" inspiration. The superb glamorous 
effect of the l?th Century Venetian influence is also noticeable on gowns 
worn on festive occasions only, but the drapery is decidedly of Egyptian 
inspiration. Of Oriental influence the bright colors, especially in the 
embroidery motifs, are inspired from a variety of exquisite Persian and 
Chinese designs. 

Borrowed from the East the colors are gay and beautiful. Pansy 
purple is favored as a popular tone, while Oxford gray, black (for coats 


2o absui t al* 




especially), brown, beige, red (used moderately only) lead for the Fall 
outfit. Green velvet, and metal brocade frocks are excellent features, 
also georgette crepe in bright blues and amber for formal occasions, 
A startling combination is a tailored frock of brilliant yellow velvet 
fitted with a sort of monk hood cape that may cover the entire head. 

The furs are nutria, leopard, skunk, chinchilla, Persian lamb, 
and kolinsky. Large collars of bear fur called "Labrador" on the evening 
velvet cloaks are the latest must, 


As mentioned in the fashion journal of 1921, the Pan-American Fair 
was such an important event that many ladies of social standing found it 
an unusual opportunity to prepare a wardrobe in the latest style, 

Mrs, Harding' s dress in the National Museum is one that she wore 
at a special entertainment in her honor, in the Pan-American Building, 
Fashioned with a short skirt, which emphasizes the new mode of t hat odd 
period, it is draped to show her white satin slippers adorned with rhine- 
stone buckles, evidently to match the elaborate pearl and rhinestone 
embroidery of her gown. Ornamented similar ily, is the low square decolle- 
tage. Curiously enough the embroidery pattern is just pretty, apparently 
meaningless, no symbol of any kind seems obvious, contrary to the garniture 
of so many other gowns in the collection at the Smithsonian Institute. 
The front skirt panel is a continuation of the bodice, and of course 
beltless. Hanging separately from the waist is the train covered with 
black silk net. 


A very unique styled evening wrap of peacock blue tone, trimmed 
with gold motifs was sent along later, and a feather collar so much a la 
mode at that time, 


The year of 1922 may be considered a period of decidedly radical 
changes, and looking over the new styles, one sees that the main feature 
is the long slim line of the smooth and slender silhouette with the belt 
line almost at the hips. The high close-fitting collar is shown again on 
many of the Parisian models. The tailor-made suit has a straight line 
jacket over a one-piece frock of the same material. It is quite often of 
velour de laine (woolen velvet), or another kind of woolen cloth called 
wool cotele (a sort of striped material) but the popular gabardine is 
favored for outdoor garments. These charming and elegant frocks are quite 
often trimmed with the expensive chinchilla or zibeline, 

A great deal of fine silk tissues are displayed on the manufactured 
day and evening frocks, and a marked tendency for extravagance, luxury, and 
frivolity, emphasizes this particular period of American prosperity. There 
are costly metal fabrics of gold and silver threads, subtle light and flimsy 
and as easy to drape as crepe de chine, A thin artificial tissue, soft and 
of unusual beauty, resembling silk, has appeared on the market, but silk of 
all descriptions remains the favorite among American women. Silk jersey 
was a popular material for suits this past Summer, worn with white voile 
or marquisette blouses elaborately trimmed with real filet lace. The 
outfit proved to be a most satisfactory travelling costume. Woolen 


fabrics that are like brocades, and corduroys also make up in beautiful 
three-piece frocks. For the blouse type of jacket, the fur band garni- 
ture is Russian in appearance; this may be sable or chinchilla. 

Fashions are comfortable and clothes comparatively easy to pack 
for travel. Ready made gowns and suits are expensive and many women either 
have their dresses made or often make them at home with the aid of commer- 
cial patterns. Some skirts are narrow, others rather full and often 
plaited; they are not quite ankle length, about eight inches from the 
ground. The box plait is revived on many of the stylish frocks. The 
neckline is still low, V-shape, square, and occasionally bateau, which 
seems to be a favorite style. Long and set in, the sleeves are without 
gathering in the armseye. They are occasionally finished with a cuff. 
There is a flare below the elbow, often gorgeously embroidered like the 
bodice. Even the style of the sleeve called "Bishop" may be observed on 
some of these late models,, 

Hats resemble the cloche worn well over the forehead, with little 
or no trimniiig, but Aigrettes are fashionable on the chapeaux, made of 
felt or velvet. Large ones are trimmed with plumes, or with gorgeous 
Autumn leaves or fruits, often called Delia Robbia hats. 

High boots are fast disappearing to be replaced by the low pump, 
and low fancy shoes which are gaining in popularity. The style of this 
new footwear varies very little, mostly black and tan Oxfords for every- 
day wear; the pumps are black patent leather or suede with high or Cuban 


€ f 



We are told that the fashion shows in Paris for Summer styles were 
gay evening functions, where fans and cooling drinks were offered to the 
astonished guests as the sumptuous modes were exhibited during the warm 

The silhouette remains tube-like with the skirt full and above 
ankle length; no appearance of waist line whatsoever. What Paris called 
the "Tubeline" is a straight foundation for many of these very charming 
frocks. The low girdle is just a band of the material or a narrow gold 
galloon. Sometimes decorative embroidery features these low belts. 

There are also some ostrich feather trimmings and much less 
embroidery this season, but beautiful in their designs. These embroidered 
motifs appear to be inspired from Byzantine and Persian decorations. The 
neckline varies in many different styles, but the "bateau neck" remains 
in favor on the new models. As for the sleeves, they are long, often 
finished with an elaborate cuff. Bands of fur lead as a trimming on all 
parts of the gown. There are also many metal fabrics even for daytime 
wear. Tassels of silver and gold appear on coats and gowns. 

In this fashion world of 1923, Paris designs frocks that resemble 
cloaks and wraps that look like dresses. 

Velvet, chiffon velvet, wool velvet, tulle, all kinds of silk, 
Georgette crepe, Crepe de Chine, Brocades, are the materials in vogue for 
Fall and Winter. The year 1923 may boast of taking the prize in the many 
colors that have been observed on imported models and gowns designed and 
manufactured in New York. While Royal Blue predominates, the red and 


919W BtUA 

orange include henna, toast, rust, brick, cinnamon, brown and leather. 
The blues take in Sorrento, navy, Egyptian, and tile, and for paler 
colors, we have a wide range of rnauve, wisteria, orchid, and perri- 
winkle. Beige and green are passe, but they have not entirely 





Change of Silhouette - 192U to 1931 - Wealth of Trimmings - 
Embroidery and Beading - Egyptian Influence - Excavation in Egypt - 
New Kind of Jewelry Called Costume Jewelry, 

The smartness of the slender silhouette is especially emphasized 
in the fashion shows of imported frocks of 192U - the chemise lines and 
the draperies for the various styles of tunic so fashionable at present, 
fail to widen the skirts which still remain narrow. 

Archeologists who have been extremely interested lately in the 
many treasures discovered from the tomb of King Tutankh-Amen, are the 
cause of the extraordinary Egyptian influence noticeable on the modes 
designed in Paris at present, and the new French models are beautiful 
and original, though rather severe in lines. Besides the wool "tailleur 
masculin" (mannish suit), we notice many are made of satin relieved by a 
frilled blouse of white satin. Accordion plaited jabots are smart with 
one of those plain frocks, also with the Kasha cloth ensembles. The 
sweater blouses embroidered in Egyptian and Indian designs, are especially 
chic. There is a stunning type of evening gown cut on the Moyen Age lines, 
often made of velvet or shimmering silk, closely fitted to the figure, and 
finished with a lace flounce at the bottom of the skirt. For both daytime 
and evening wear, the square neckline is replacing the bateau, but a high 
collar is often worn with the "tailleur." The sleeves continue to be set 
in, long and plain, occasionally finished with a white cuff, but evening 


•J ' 


frocks remain sleeveless, A feature of many new styles from Paris 
designers emphasizes embroidery (Egyptian motifs) on black background. 
But in New York the leading couturiers and manufacturers adopting these 
fashions, take liberties in the color arrangements for their own models 
with changes on the variety of trimming and details, 

A special style of 1921* is the smart neglige designed for the 
leisure hours of Madame, Appropriate at all times of the day, from break- 
fast to the informal dinner, and even to bed time, this style of dress is 
designed and made of crepe de Chine, antique cashmere, even cotton, with a 
shiny silky finish. These lounging robes are sometimes quilted, embroidered, 

or trimmed with fringe, occasionally tailor-made, adorned with braid or 
binding of a contrasting shade. The sleeves of these house dresses resemble 
the large "Moyen Age" style. 

The colors are practically the same as last year except for a new 
coffee shade often combined with white; beige, and sand color, are 
observed here and there. 

Hats are small and may easily be traced to the "cloches" disguised, 
however, by clever fashion artifices. Influenced by the Directoire period 
styles it is original and chic, as it is gracefully perched on Madame' s 
head hiding the short hair coiffure still very much "a la mode," Larger 
chapeaux are trimmed with flowers placed in a tailor-made fashion on the 
crown. A smart innovation is an embroidered monogram on a ribbon around 
the crown of a rather high hat. The cockade of ribbon is often seen on 
these irregular brijoa chapeaux. Short hair coiffure favored by stylish 
women is composed of a mass of curls, the permanent wave having gained in 



1-1 Oil 6 

l' I 

vogue, even among the working class of American women. 

Shoes do not vary considerably - for daytime wear Oxfords remain 
in style, while pximps (of different kinds of leather) are worn on festive 
occasions. Satin shoes are chic with a silver buckle and high heels. 
The short dress necessitates the silk stockings which all women are now 


The beautiful gown on the manikin representing the charming Mrs. 
Coolidge at the National Museum in Washington is a unique but beautiful 
American Beauty colored chiffon velvet dress. 

The cut of this rich frock is identical with the boyish appearance 
of the 1923-192U modes: a straight-line effect is featured in every part 
of the dress. It is sleeveless, with a V-line decolletage; not too low, 
however. The skirt has three flounces, and remains quite short in front. 
The long and narrow train looks as if it were suspended from the shoulders, 
separately from the gown. Velvet pumps, with a less pointed toe than 
generally worn at that time, complete the costume of this First Lady of 
the Land. 

Mrs. Coolidge' s coiffure, dressed neatly, may have been the new 
permanent or a marcel wave. 

No "headline" change in fashion has occurred at the early Spring 
opening in Paris. There are, however, slight details on frocks that are 
still cut on the same main lines of 192U, the silhouette remaining 


straight and boyish, the skirt very short and very full, the neck 
V-shape or round. It is rather with a dismal anticipation that one 
realizes the marked influence of modern art on women's clothes - the 
skirt, for instance, cut in sections and sewed up again in odd ways; 
the waistline hidden with the straight bodice attached to a mass of 
ruffles; skirts full and overtrimmed. In a word, this display of com- 
plicated and elaborate affairs called "frocks a la mode" is disappointing. 
There are, however, certain innovations such as "jupe culotte" for sport 
costume introduced by a few great designers. Also evening dresses are 
graceful and adorned with draperies of rich flowery lames. 

Many of the new stylish gowns, day or evening, are sleeveless 
and with low decolletage, sometimes trimmed with fringe, but nearly 
always lavishly embroidered with beads, etc. The one-sided effect for 
the train is rather astonishing, but details on practically the same 
straight-line frocks are numerous and clever. The flare on all skirts 
is low with no appearance of a normal waist line. 

Interesting tones emphasize blues; - crow blue, and navy; the 
browns,- cinnamon, caramel, ginger, burned bread, etc., and the "purplish" 
color called violine, replacing black which is trying its best to disappear 
from Milady' s wardrobe. The reds from the sealing wax to wine color are 
also favored. Green runs from Nile to Myrtle, including "lettuce," 
"spinach," etc. Ensembles in pastel colors, such as rose, pink, mauve, 
pale green, flax blue, occasionally white, and the new green called 
billiard green, are made of silk, tailored with long narrow sleeves. 


The thin fabrics are still in vogue, being used in a very large 
quantity; silk, chiffon, voile, marquisettes, woolens, and rayon, which 
is replacing silk in many of the new frocks; it is soft and satisfactory 
material dyed in gorgeous hues. 

Hats are practically the same as those of the previous season, 
covering the head as far as the eyes, and all shaped similarly. 

Shoes vary considerably, but are cut on about the same lines - 
pointed toe, buckles, and high heels. Not only are these pretty shoes 
made of all kinds of leather for daytime wear, but satin footwear com- 
pletes an evening formal "toilette." 


The silhouette of September of this year remains practically the 
same as in the Spring, and a great many coat dresses are still very much 
in vogue. Frocks of dark background crepe-de-Chine with white or a very 
light shade polka dots from large to small, quite often embroidered, 
feature Fall modes of afternoon dresses. But the main characteristic of 
this year seems to be the continuation of the flat boyish silhouette, 
concealing the graceful feminine figure. 

An outstanding mode of the fall is the very short skirt that 
lends itself to a rather original effect of fullness on the sides, with 
the belt very low, imitating the "Moyen Age" costume. The neckline is 
a low V-shape, while the sleeves, plain at the top, are wide and full at 
the wrist, often finished with a narrow cuff or lined with a contrasting 
colored silk. Capes are worn on all occasions, especially when the gown 





is made of thin fabric. Also, short velvet jackets trimmed with fur 
collars are worn on festive occasions. 

Embroidery is the keynote of adornment with the colored touch 
of contrasted harmony. These motifs are done by hand with coarse silk 
or wool. No fine stitches characterize this new kind of peasant trimming 
composed of definite designs of fruit or flowers in their natural hues. 
The sleeves are quite often the only part of the gown thus embroidered 
elaborately. Fringe appears on several of the French models, 

White is a favorite tone of the season, occasionally relieved by 
a fancy-colored girdle. There is also that new shade called "zeppelin" 
sort of bluish gray. 

The chapeau, still called "cloche," is a toque of velvet and 
panne velvet in dark hues; it is trimmed with contrasting color material. 
A. special style of hats is called "Gigolo." Vile almost regret the lovely 
crinoline hats and cowboy type brim hats made of fine straw of the past 

As for shoes, no new mode appears. The pump with a buckle or a 
bow, features the dressy footwear of the season. 

The outstanding and most interesting characteristic of the new 
Fall and Winter modes, is the appearance of exquisite artificial fabrics. 
Printed in artistic but rather small designs, the velvets are intriguing; 
often combined with silk or satin crepes, they are used for both formal 
and daytime frocks,, The transparent velvets, the brocaded chiffon, and 
the lames, are all flexible tissues of great beauty and softness. The 

f? flOJ.'BSQI 

imported collection of models offers unlimited choice among these easy- 
to-drape tissues. There is also no end to the variety of woolen materials 
suitable for daytime wear; some have a lustrous surface resembling broad- 
cloth, though much thinner. These exquisite fabrics are especially adapted 
for ensembles. Other woolen textiles look like some of the old fashioned 
covert cloth in their woven patterns often flecked with white, especially 
adapted for sport wear. For the blouse worn with the fashionable 
"tailleur, " the most luxurious fabrics are used; this glamorizes a 
feminine outfit to a high degree. All these very exciting lames, satins, 
etc. show the influence (though vaguely) of the romantic period of 1830 
in France. 

Fluttering, full and short skirts feature the straight line 
silhouette which seems to remain in vogue. We still occasionally observe 
the one-sided effect on frocks; the sleeve is set in, long and plain, and 
tailor made. There is a marked variety in the style of the neckline 
which is bateau, V-shaped, or pointed on the left side. 

Definitely, this is the year of the pajamas; indeed, this costume 
is considered elegant. The numerous styles that were introduced at the 
recent fashion shows, offer a still wider selection to women who have 
already appeared at the various beaches and resorts in this style of 
attire. Now we have this useful costume for Madame 1 s boudoir, and even 
for morning wear in the intimacy of her drawing room while reading the 
best seller or writing yesterday's diary. It is made of crepe de Chine, 
silk, jersey, plain or trimmed. This kind of pajamas differs vastly 
from the plain sleeping garment of the past years. Soft and charming, 

the style which is especially chic and feminine, occupies an important 
place in Madame 1 s wardrobe. An enthusiastic acceptance of this mode 
has caused some of our designers to object, fearing that women's dress 
might possibly become masculine or even standardized. 

Hats are plain, occasionally made of the same material as the 
ensemble coat; very little trimming or none at all. 

Silver and gold shoes are still worn evenings. But the disappear- 
ance of very high heels is surprising. 


During the beginning of this year (1929) women were asking 
designers what might be new in store for M la mode" forecast. This was 
almost a sign that a radical change of silhouette might have been pre- 
dicted, and not too far in the future. But, as the seasons follow one 
another, the outlook for a dissolution of the present general style seems 
hardly probable; in fact, no great change is even slightly indicated. 
The basic line remains boyish and straight and practically the same as in 
1928 except for a few additions of details or adornment, which, in many 
cases, glamorize considerably the 1929 costume, giving the mode an 
appearance at least of novelty. 

Considering first the sport clothes that have kept the same lines 
as they were at the Fall opening of 1928, there are three definite 
schemes: One piece dress, the jumper short skirt, and jackets of various 
lengths. Generally speaking, the one outstanding change in dress seems 
to be a narrow belt placed higher in the waist. Of Persian inspiration, 
a flaring skirt on a tight fitting body was featured in the recent fashion 


shows. Symmetrically long at both sides with or without the back panel, 
the skirt with an uneven hemline continues to be an interesting mode of 
the Winter 1929. The neckline is most attractive in its varied and 
numerous styles. It is pointed in front, often finished with a cravat 
tied with a bow on the left shoulder. For evening wear it is extremely low. 

Again Egyptian influence is rather striking - this time in the 
general cut of some of the most glamorous evening gowns observed at an 
unusually chic Winter style show. These beautiful gowns had the popular 
long back panel. The marked variety of sleeve lengths and fullness is 
most interesting - they are full at the elbow, other times at the wrist. 
Sleeveless gowns are seen everywhere. 

The new frocks made of charming and original print s are exciting 
in their unique and fascinating designs. Silks or Georgette crepes 
replacing the chiffons have large motifs of vague decorative designs or 
conventionalized flowers in artistic and beautiful hues; complementary 
and contrasted harmonies are to be noticed. The silver lame still holds 
its own for formal wear. Lace is used as well as large open mesh net and 
tulle which the Parisian couturiers are featuring on their recent evening 
models. In the field of materials, the trend continues for crepe satin, 
transparent velvet (embroidered with spangles), broche taffetas and moire. 

Although colors are gorgeous, black still leads as the practical 
basic tone of the season. Other fashionable hues are grayish greens, 
absinthe and tilleul. Pumpkin yellow is noticeably gaining in popularity, 
but there is a long range of pale hues somewhat off the white - these are 
pink, pale nasturtiums and violine. The blues are midnight, sapphire. 

but beige is also a good shade for evening. One often sees a blouse of 
peach pink worn with the popular black skirt. Red is favored for both 
day and evening wear; chic and attractive, is a red coat trimmed with 
Astrakan fur. 

An important feature of the Winter coat, is the big fur collar 
which is kept open almost to the waistline, exposing the throat and neck 
of the wearer. The V neckline of the frock is extremely low, and the 
coat is held in place by Mademoiselle's dainty gloved right hand. V>ith 
an extremely short skirt, very thin silk underwear, low shoes and no 
rubbers or overshoes, she only pretends to be warmly dressed. The furs 
are Astrakan, Persian lamb, oppossum, seal, and fitch. 

Hats are more or less alluring in their still popular cloche type. 
Practically without trimming, Madame 1 s chapeau is made of various kinds of 
material for the South or French Riviera, but felt remains very much a la 
mode. It is to be noticed that the right ear is absolutely couverte 
(covered); for this style of tilt the coiffure must be arranged with 
special care. 

Shoes do not seem to offer much variety, but one has a long range 
of beautiful low shoes to choose from. The pumps keep in style. The 
most remarkable feature of women's footwear is the total absence of over- 
shoes, no matter how cold and stormy the weather. A very unfortunate and 
sad reality is the large number of beautiful young girls that fill our 
sanitariums. It seems as if everyone has a cold that sometimes can be 
cured, other times proves fatal. The very thin silky underwear, the 
noticeable rarity of woolens, the silk stockings, and the absence of 
rubbers, may be the cause of this deplorable state of affairs. 


LOT HENRY HOOVER (1929-1933) 

The fashions of that time were more or less complicated in the 
matter of draperies and folds, Mrs. Hoover's dress is without trimming 
of any kind - embroidery or lace. It is made of ice-green, easy to 
drape lovely satin with emphasis on pointed overskirt flounces, a cowl 
shaped decolletage, cape sleeves. The blouse effect of the bodice almost 
covers the narrow cord belt. The very full skirt is finished with a 
short round train. 

Mrs. Hoover's dignified appearance added to the beauty of a Greek 
inspired dress. She wore no jewelry. Her hairdo appears to be a marcel 
wave neatly set almost covering the ears. 


In the matter of style this is definitely not a very important 
year (1930) principally because of the strong wave of economy forced 
upon the large majority of women whose income is considerably reduced by 
the Depression which has apparently affected the world of fashion. It is, 
therefore, interesting to note that practically no drastic change of 
lines seems even apparent for the coming of the new season. Efforts to 
launch modes in 1930 with absolutely radical lines have been unsuccessful, 
because of purses flattened by the Depression. Although beautiful 
materials and trimmings of all description continue to appear in New York 
and other American cities, designers are trying vainly to revolutionize 
details and adjuncts on the new clothes. 

However, the materials are priced considerably lower, and it is 
with real joy that one sees the avalanche of cheaper, ready-to-wear 


women's clothes in all sizes and in such a wonderful array of colors, 
tfven Parisian styles emphasize the same main lines of the neck, the short 
skirt, and sad but true, the same straight boyish silhouette. 

In spite of their similarity of styles, the 1930 frocks are well 
designed, well cut, and artistically put together, so that their general 
appearance is the last word in beauty. 

Black, which has been a basic color for sometime, is occasionally 
relieved by embroidered motifs of new bright hues. There are several 
chic innovations, however, that are launched at the various fashion shows, 
such as an enveloping scarf, so large as to give the impression of an 
evening wrap. 

The suits are elegantly fashioned of serge, woolen velour and 
camel's hair. Many of the modish coats have collars of the same material. 
Fur coats are not as numerous as last year, but they are made of practically 
the same fur as in 1929 - dyed muskrat, Persian lamb, seal, oppossum, and 
Hudson seal. 

Clothes are so inexpensive that interest seems to grow as time 
passes. Everyone, even those of moderate means are able at last to renew 
their wardrobe. Of course, a certain number of women are wearing the same 
outfit season after season, waiting, as it were, for the launching of new 
lines which may soon come to revolutionize that flat boyish silhouette - 
a substitute would undoubtedly be favorably accepted. 

Hats are small and un trimmed, hence, the reason so many millinery 
shops had to close their doors. It is interesting to watch the various 
French and American designers trying, as it were, to launch new lines. 

Shoes have also suffered a serious setback by the extremely 


limited new stock. 

Various high lights from Paris are welcome, especially in the 
exclusive shops where the American designers use them cleverly to give 
their expensive frocks a certain appearance of novelty in the modes of 
1930, The appeal must not be confined to the color, or fabric only, 


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Drastic Change of Silhouette - Silhouette of 1931 - 1932 - 1933 
Mrs, Roosevelt 19 3U - Furs - Glamorous Styles - The New Color 
Stratosphere - Long Skirts - Natural Waistline - The Zipper 


The complete change of fashion is decidedly startling and splashing; 
in fact, it is in a way, most astonishing. The new gowns, so well molded 
around the body, make one realize that women's figure is again the concern 
of the moment, and what a joy to see one's clothes stay in placet No more 
of those loose draperies I But it does take awhile to get accustomed to this 
new silhouette, replacing the boyish effect of the flat chest, short skirt, 
and low girdles. In Paris, they say that these styles have turned young 
again with all the vivid colors used so profusely. It is a relief to know 
that the exaggerated modes of the "passe" frocks have entirely disappeared, 
and that the new styles emphasize at least the more feminine and graceful 
lines. But to wear these new clothes successfully requires reflection and 
even serious thinking; luckily, however, everyone seems to react happily 
to the absolute authority, "la mode," The latter does, in large measure, 
emphasize the beauty and charm of Madame' s or Mademoiselle's figure, which 
is an important factor in the lives of so many people. This new style is 
really more dignified. 

In 1931, the main characteristics of the fashions are the raised 
natural waist-line with the skirt longer and not quite so full. Also to 
be selected simultaneously in this period of remarkable transition is the 



"■Ox - 


short bolero, with long and short sleeves. The closed-in neckline is 
featured on a number of new models, although one still may observe 
occasional V-necks and round ones draped in soft folds. 

Current events and our mode of living contribute, in large measure, 
to influence various modifications in women's dresses. Many separate 
skirts are worn with blouses, some with long sleeves resembling men's 
shirts, a costume of great economy, comfortable and most satisfactory 
during this trying time of depression. Tailor-made suits of tweeds and 
heavy woolen materials are stylish and very much in favor for shopping and 
daytime wear. 

Contrast seems to be the keynote of fashion, and black, very dark 
brown, and blue top coats are worn with a white or light-colored frock 
for various occasions. These coats are long and trimmed with fur collars 
for the Fall. The furs used are fitch, seal, Persian lamb, opossum, gray 
squirrel, and muskrat. 

The high light of the season is a dress that buttons all the way 
from the neck to the hem. A certain elegance is attained with the dozen 
or more buttons glittering in silver or jewels as the principal ornamenta- 

Colors range from black, brown, navy blue, to green, and a variety 
of reds, such as "tomato" and "lobster" which are popular, while the 
Chinese tones have inspired combinations never used on women's clothes 

There is a striking note of gorgeousness in the variety of materials, 
but silk is fast disappearing from a market that seems to be flooded with 
artificial textiles dyed and printed in beautiful and varied shades and 
designs. Cotton, wool, and linen continue to be used but with certain 


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restraint, inasmuch as rayon crepe is the popular fabric of 1931* 
Hats are very plain with practically no trimming. 
Shoes are black, tan, gray, red, and blue; gold and silver for 
evening wear. There is the new style of low shoe with cut out designs 
over the toes. The lizard skin is featured in footwear and has gained 
remarkable popularity. 

Even the use of cosmetics joined the remarkable transition of 
styles in their complete transformation. Moderation is the last word and 
once more women appear more natural with less rouge and less lipstick, 

more eyebrows plucked to the exaggerated line of the previous decade. 
Also gone are the green and deep crimson fingernails in this year of 1931* 
The main object of women in general seems to be simply the keen and legiti- 
mate desire of appearing beautiful with Nature's gifts. However, cosmetics 
are still used, but just enough to enhance the charm and beauty of women. 



Economy appears to be in the limelight just at present, but stylish 
clothes are so low-priced that with the American women's proverbial ingenu- 
ity and good taste the fair sex can keep on looking up-to-date and well 
dressed, especially with our wonderful new fabrics, dyed in gorgeous tones 
which produce wonderful effects. Pure silk and 100$ wool still remain on 
the market, however. 

Last year' s clothes may be easily made over with the help of commer- 
cial patterns; one may also add that the 1932 artistic silhouette contributes 
greatly to glamorize Madame' s home creations. 

It is pleasing to realize that there are very few of those exaggerated 
and rich toilettes, even among those wealthy who have succeeded in saving from 
"the crash" their huge fortune of the prosperity era. Women appear charming 
and beautiful in simple clothes that replace the showy attire of a few years 
ago. The American feminine population has at last ceased to affect an air 
of complacency. A certain sameness of style may be obvious, but the slim 
line is not monotonous. Varied arrangements of color and odd trimmings are 
used even on plain everyday frocks; there is symmetry in the placing of 
buttons, bands, or even pin tucks which are stitched in design clusters - 
padded embroidery is new and chic. 

The number of stout girls has greatly diminished. Even the short 
woman appears taller and slimmer with the kind of clothes designed for all 
types of figure. New lork couturiers have achieved great success in their 
practical and beautiful creations (partly copied from Parisian models). 
In spite of the low cost of living, and not only because of the depression, 





i I 


but primarily because everyone is more or less conscious of keeping her 
"line," as it is called, and is watching the scales with much concern, 
Hollywood stars may possibly be influencing our young feminine population. 
Never in the history of fashion have women appeared more graceful and 
better dressed even though clothes are cheaper than at any other time. 

We notice, with joy, the wave of kindness and generosity in 
wealthy women who so gladly give away their clothes to their less 
fortunate sisters, replacing their wardrobe as often as a new wrinkle 
appears on the latest frock* 

One feature of la mode remains astonishing and is deplored by our 
conservative society. The year 1933' s latest innovation is the masculine 
attire recently worn by women who have daringly appeared in trouser suits - 
even the collar and four-in-hand tie completing this new outfit which sur- 
passes Mrs. Bloomer's of the "gay nineties." The question is whether it 
is just a passing notion or a permanent fashion to be accepted and followed 
by the majority of women. It may have been designed from a practical 
impulse, but it is said that the well known cinema actress, Marlene 
Dietrich, is responsible for this new masculine mode. Whatever may be 
the reason, fashion commentators do not seem to take this fad too 




A glamorous array of new materials has appeared to amaze the fashion 
world and this year the high lights of la mode are brighter than they have 
ever been since the war; they suggest the grandeur of 1900 when luxury and 
extravagance marked the turn of the Century. The satins, the silks, the 
velvets, the moires, are extraordinary, and even the woolens have gold and 
silver threads woven into these modern fabrics. The velvets are often 
changeable in tones. 

The sensation these textile exhibitions caused may be easily 
imagined when one realizes the depression which has obliged so many women 
to economize on their wardrobe. It seems as if we had formed the habit 
of a certain amount of simplicity in our dress. All this splendor shown 
at this time by the Paris and New York couturiers is certainly astonishing. 
Their models are made with new stiff glistening materials, among which are 
lots of failles and taffetas. They certainly succeeded in creating sur- 
prises with their newly discovered and strange tissues never used before 
193li. Acetate and rayon are the favorite materials especially among the 
manufactured dresses. One rejoices to find that these charming ready- 
made frocks are comparatively low priced, within the means of every 
woman's purse. 

There is also a certain amount of pure silk generally used for 
evening gowns; they are not soft but are glowing in the odd manner of their 
weave. As for stiffness and richness, no fabric can quite equal the lames, 
that have swept the market. Especially suitable for formal frocks, gold and 
silver are interwoven with the blues, the browns, and the black; they almost 


recall the splendor of the Renaissance period. Indeed the cut and styles 
of 19314. are more or less influenced by the costumes of bygone days. 
Intriguing and formal, la mode of 193U achieves magnificent, as well as 
original effects. It is dramatic and very often classic in its graceful 
slim lines. Inspired from the 1880 fashions, the bustle and draperies, 
though fantastic and picturesque, are here, but considerably modified, 
especially the hoop. There is a new Princess style dress that emphasizes 
the slim silhouette worn at formal social events; it is favored by young 
and middle aged women, and the natural waistline is emphasized by the 
"plisse" or "bouffant" effect of the hip line. Also, we see the Greek 
silhouette which is beautiful in the shimmering satin of this Season. 

Skirts everywhere are long and full, narrow ones having disappeared 
entirely. For festive and formal occasions the gowns have a very long 
train, and the decolletage is much lower in the back than in the front. 
A new draped neckline is smart - it reminds one of the neckline of the 
13th Century, so different is it from the style worn during the past years. 
For daytime wear the one-piece dress has style, beauty, and elegance, while 
the suit made of many kinds of wool tweeds is especially favored with the 
lovely blouse of silk or satin. 

In the realm of color, black comes first, then beautiful shades of 
orange, reds and browns. The browns are rich tones based on "feuilles 
d'automne" (Autumn leaves), and vary considerably in color values though 
inclined to be rather dark. But the newest and most popular color is the 
lovely tone of violet blue called "stratosphere", decidedly unique in its 
various shades. 


The furs are mostly seal. Seal is elegant in its brown, black, and 
natural color. Astrakan and beaver, used lavishly for trimming the short 
jacket, rather loose in the back, suggest the popularity of fur trimming. 
All shoulders are padded. 

Capes are still very much in vogue, sometimes stiffened and flying 
off behind, though rather heavy. These are called parachute capes; a 
fantastic style, especially when they are padded as some of our couturiers 
have designed. 

Hats are both large and small - a small one called "Hussard" is 
plain, practically without trimming, made of felt, velvet, and woolen 
cloth to match the suit. 

Shoes are gold and silver for evening; for daytime formal there is 
a variety of kid, leopard, or alligator and lizard, and satin dyed to match 
the gown. Occasionally they are trimmed with different kinds of leather. 
They appear odd in their various shapes and designs. Oxfords continue to 
be worn, especially for sports wear, always with Cuban or low heels, 
inspired from Britain, 





This year's styles (1938) are composed of astonishing contradictions. 
The diversity of lines on the gowns and suits designed by the great couturiers 
of Paris and New York, offer unlimited advantage to the majority of women 
anxious to appear at their best at all times of day and evening. The waist- 
line may be as one prefers, high or low. The skirts are wide or narrow, 
some are full in front and tied with a bow of ribbon passed through a casing 
holding the gathers of a pretty skirt called "Dirndl." The novelty of the 
belt is also to be noticed, occasionally made with cut-out designs of soft 
leather, it adds considerably to the chic of these graceful skirts. The 
sweater and the bolero are smart and very chic, especially for the col3e ge 
girl. A certain kind of front drapery on Hie new models reminds one of the 
year 1912 when skirts were narrow and opened at the hem to show the dainty 
feet of the wearer. 

Variety in the style of coats is featured by the many off -jackets 
this year, full and short, knee lenghts, similar to the Chinese kimona 
which is seen everywhere. The top coat such as Queen Elizabeth wears is 
made of plaid tweed which is about the most popular material used for all 
kinds of cloaks. Many coats are very full in the back with the belt at the 
waistline and with collars extending almost to the girdle, but the smart 
youthful reefer and Polo coats remain definitely the favorites among the 
college feminine group whose costume for the various sport outings is not 
complete without one of those charming creations with the Paris touch. 
Another innovation worth mentioning is the patch pocket placed on the side 
of the skirt. 


Women's clothes are so easy to wear with the Zipper that has 
apparently replaced the old-fashioned hooks and eyes - (such a saving of 
time I) This comparatively new and useful fastener dates as far back as 
1893 when it appeared among the mechanical inventions exhibited at the 
Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago, Whitcomb L, Judson, the real 
inventor, unfortunately had to give up his venture, because no na chine 
could be perfected to manufacture the zipper at a reasonable speed, and a 
great deal of money was squandered in numerous attempts to invent a satis- 
factory machine. Finally, it was put on the market in 1923, and the credit 
may go to the Swedish engineer, Gideon Sunback, for both - the perfect 
fastener and the machine to make it. Its general acceptance on women's 
clothes is only of recent date when Madame Schiaparelli, well known 
designer, conceived the idea of using the zipper on her models, French 
couturiers are most enthusiastic in their praise of such a marvelous 
invention. The reason for this enthusiasm about such a detail is legiti- 
mate, as the zipper is used everywhere and on almost everything, 

A marked influence of the Second Empire and also of the Marie- 
Antoinette period with their numerous bows and lace trimnings, is a feature 
of this year which is decidedly a lace era. Not only is lace used in pro- 
fusion on all parts of a frock, but its motif is often cut out (appliqued) 
artistically in various ways on the bodice or on the skirt of the gown. 
The general style of the sleeves is also noticeably varied - they are 
full, plain, long, or short, and nearly always have a little pad at the 

It is comparatively easy to be up-to-date at all functions now. 



oS S.'.'O' 

Even in the matter of colors, there are the severe effects of black and 
white, and the vivid hues of Spring flowery designs on white or black 
background. The "tailleur" ( tailor-made suit), so much in vogue, is 
relieved by exquisite blouses of pastel shades; some are trimmed with 
lace, while others, more practical, are made of linen and surah silk in 
various tones. "LA MODE EST UN TRYAN " (fashion is a tyrant), but it 
brings pleasure and deceives no one. For daytime dresses, the trend is of 
plaid, woven in complementary tones such as red and greens, etc. Frocks 
have yokes, fastened in the back, buttoned or zipped. 

Exciting and surprising combinations of color offer flattering and 
charming effects, for example: a flame red velveteen or tilleul yellow 
skirt and a blouse of blue silk jersey with an all over design of the same 
red. A decided complementary scheme of colors is a popular combination 
for 1938* Strong contrast is even combined with the three primary colors 
(red, blue, and yellow), forming triad motifs on white, gray, or black 
background. For evening, misty blue and frothy pink are fashionable. 
New and queer colors are fascinating, and, if artistically arranged, pro- 
duce miraculous effects. 

Considering the wealth of choice offered one, it is interesting to 
note that there is a sameness of waist-line on French models, the Directoire 
line raising the bust very high, thus giving the figure an appearance of 
length and slenderness. This seems to be the latest innovation of our 
important designers. 

It seems as though the "cloche" has entirely disappeared; the 
present mode of the chapeau being a draped chiffon turban, or, for 




festive occasions, a picture hat triinmed with ostrich plumes. 

Shoes are brown, blue and blackj Oxford and pumps with straps or 

a large leather bow. The stockings are silk in many shades of beige, 

pottery-tan, and toast color. 

To the joy of many, it is rumored that in the near future dramatic 

fashion shows may be seen in Television, which is being perfected at 

present. It is to be hoped that we shall not be too long waiting for 

treats of that kind. 


d-esoj bar?. t nsf^pE©i 




I939 - The War in Europe - l<?bp - 19 1*1 - 19 h2 - 19 1*3- 1914* 
The Frozen Silhouette - War Production Board - Fashion and Style 
During the War - No Importation of French Models - New York Leads 
in the Fashion World - Eleanor Roosevelt - Importance of Adjuncts 
and Details on Clothes - Americans in France - Blue, White, and Red - 
The Wide Skirts. 


The fashions that are transmitted here by radio from Paris emphasize 
a very straight silhouette, so straight that no derrierq (deep curve) is 
prominent as it was at the previous years 1 fashion shows. It seems as if 
one had to practice a special manner of walking gracefully with that rather 
picturesque line. A certain stiffness would hardly be in harmony with the 
soft, beautiful and rich fabrics, and the lovely furs that give Madame' s 
1939 attire a decided appearance of refinement. 

The princess and beltless gowns with the kick plait at the bottom, 
the high collar, the silk or satin petticoat, are noticeable features of 
this year's modes. The manipulation of our modern fabric is remarkably 
skillful on the 1939 collections. We have those exquisite rayons, lovely 
acetates, soft chiffon-like bembergs, and wrinkled velvets of artificial 
silk woven in such a way as to give the charming effect of changeable 
bright hues. Odd combinations glorify the simple line of formal and 
casual clothes. Fascinating results are obtained with black combined 
with red or other bright hues for all occasions. 

With the extraordinary advent of the two World Fairs (New York 
and San Francisco) , la mode gives us charming effects inspired from 
various sources. 



There is a certain influence of the old Russian regime, a Cossack 
touch especially on Jackets, Large flat fur revers adorn the tweed coats, 
and apparently no bushy variety of furs is quite as smart. 

The ravishing models, recently presented by the Parisian Salons 
de Couture, and received here with enthusiasm, are partly copied with 
original details and artistically manufactured by our American designers 
who intend them to be within the means of practically every class of 
society. One may add, with pride, that nowhere in the world do we find 
such glamorous creations in the sports fashions. With our wide range of 
cleverly woven mixtures of wool, or wool and rayon, these out-of-door 
garments are typically American. 

The popularity of the cocktail hour replacing the tea party, 
influences women's informal attire. It seems as if an extraordinary 
freedom of dress characterized the general trend at various social func- 
tions. This attitude may possibly be caused by the frequent attendance 
of American people at hotels and restaurants before or after the theatre. 

THE WAR (1939) 

These are unstable worried days which are influencing the fashion 
world. Changes are rather few, especially radical ones. The neckline, 
the waist line, and the skirt length, remain practically the same. How- 
ever, the sleeves seem to be changing a little in the manner of their 
setting in the armhole. They are fuller at the top and stiffened a bit, 
rather short above the elbow for day and evening wear. Jacket sleeves 
are long and narrow at the wrist. Practically all dresses have hip line 
length jackets. 


There is a certain Spanish influence especially in the trimmings 
such as Metador braid and pompons. Padded embroidery features many formal 
frocks. A rich appearing fabric used for day and evening is satin crepe. 

Black continues to be the first color, but stormy gray and vivid 
red are popular; some neutralized hues seem to remain in vogue, but the 
color harmony prevailing is decidedly a dominant scheme. Sometimes, as 
many as five and six tones can be observed in one outfit. An example of 
this would be a dark brown hat, a suit of brown and orange tweed, a 
blouse champagne color, beige hosiery, and tan shoes. Certain details 
give fashion a decided note of delicate beauty. 

Flowery materials such as silk, rayon, and bemberg are on light 
and dark backgrounds, and even then flowers or figures are composed of 
dominant shades. Colored linen, chambray, sheer muslin, and gingham, 
were worn a great deal last Summer. Silk is beginning to disappear, and 
rayon, bemberg, and acetate are more popular, even in the most select 
shops. There is a new textile called du Pont Rayon Jersey, easy to drape 
in graceful folds on the bodice. 

Buttons and buckles keep their popularity, and pockets are often 
seen, even on afternoon gowns. Skirts are not too, rarely exceeding 
70 or 72 inches, and the length remains below the knee for daytime wear. 
Coats are long, close fitting, full at the bottom or in sports styles. 
For Winter the furs are seal, Persian lamb, Japanese mink, Canadian mink, 
dyed muskrat, dyed squirrel and, latest, Mouton, which has just appeared 
on the market. Fox for neck pieces with suits is a must, though a father 
expensive one. We occasionally see a small muff in the form of a bag 
that serves two purposes „ 

,„ •- r 


Hats are still worn down on the forehead almost covering the right 
eye. As for shoes, pumps of various colors, also in gold and silver, are 
still "a la mode" for dressy occasions. Oxfords are worn with suits for 
general informal affairs, and for shopping. 

The majority of American women are experimenting with new styles 
of coiffures, less curls and longer hair which are most becoming to the 
younger set Q 


Even though it is Winter, white is the most stylish color of this 
season. There is no drastic change in the general style, nothing comes 
from Paris, the gay old city of style, of art, and of pleasure. The war 
in Europe has deprived us of fashion, but this great abundance of white 
flannel, white cotton, white lace - all this white and so few vivid 
colors, in a way seems symbolic - a kind of half mourning, one could say, 
expressed by Americans who are generally so sympathetic to France. 

In New York, American designers are working hard to launch original, 
elegant new fashions. The skirts are short; in fact, very short, sometimes 
showing the knee. One may occasionally observe a riot of colors against 
black for sports wear, and for evening a white or a lame waist with a long 
full black velvet skirt; for formal and dinner, blouses are richly 
embroidered. The coats remain practically the same as in 1939? even in 
1938 for that matter. Once in a while a novel idea may astonish the 
feminine world,- for instance, a white quilted Petrushka coat bound in 
green felt and lined with red flannel. This odd coat may be worn over 
a one-piece ski suit of gray or black gabardine. Sweaters and skirts, 
often plaited, are worn after the ski jaunt. Skirts are sometimes ankle 


too lo 


length, slit in front to show the leg. These "Fireside" skirts are made 
of flannel, plaid or plain colors, red, white, and blue - this last com- 
bination in a way might be a symbol of our strong and peaceful country. 
We still have the delightful Dirndl skirt, casual and formal. This 
important part of Madame' s or rather Mademoiselle's (it is so youthful) 
costume is entirely American. It is made of various materials which are 
easily gathered, and rather soft, falling in flattering full effect, very 
short, as much as seventeen to eighteen inches from the ground. 

There is the Pinafore dress, sleeveless even for everyday wear. 
For evening cotton dresses are worn, for dinner wide trousered pajamas 
( jupe-culotte ) made of floral prints brilliant in their many colors, are 
very much "a la mode." A noticeable feature of the Summer of 19lp will 
be the shawl worn instead of the usual evening coat. One may observe in 
the early fashion shows the parasol which is here again to match the 
dainty cotton dress. 

Eccentricities in outfits often reveal themselves in jewels or 
sequins used for trimmings on the collar of a loose sealskin coat, then 
there is the smart thin fur of American broadtail made into a coat with 
a pleated skirt all around. Short coats of sable emphasize the luxury 
that characterizes this year's American styles. Strange to say, a turban 
or a wool cap often knitted with long trailing ends that tie or tangle 
around Madame or Mademoiselle's throat, are worn with those coats. Then 
again, cotton stockings and gloves of vivid colors are worn with the fur 
coat. Leopard, Persian lamb, and black fox, are the furs of 19 What 
has happened lately in the line of fur trimming is the cravat, the jabot, 







and the bag. Fur is seen everywhere on almost every part of Madame 1 s 
attire, such as a belt or peplum. The fur hat holds its own, as also 
does the small muff. 

With the war on in Europe and no importations, no one can really 
predict what the future has in store for women's attire. No one seems to 
say much in forecasting new fashions and we are anxious to see what our 
couturiers will launch at their independent openings of 19U1. A few 
models displayed at early fashion shows have revealed astonishing novel- 
ties such as tailored or casual dresses made of lame, handknit dresses 
and corduroy in quantity. The future styles, it appears, may be designed 
in the United States, as New York may possibly become the mecca of the 
fashion world and replace Paris, There are a great many beautiful 
details on gown trimmings - embroidery, buckles and buttons, original 
and smart in the way they are placed on the dresses; they contribute 
so much in giving a 19^0 frock a note of distinction and novelty in 
spite of the sameness of the general silhouette and cut of the gown. 
With an unlimited variety of gorgeous fabrics, dyed in the newest color, 
the American couturiers follow certain influences, among which is the 
recent Persian art exhibition in New York, Materials are celanese and 
rayon jersey, chambray, and some silk tissues, also the cool bemberg sheer. 

In the realm of color harmony, South American influence still 
reveals itself. For instance, an acid green shawl decorated with bright 
pink roses, will be worn with a water-melon pink wool frock, and a cap 
trimmed with gold and green paillettes ( spangles) • Colors, such as 
poison green, sea green, lacquer red and turquoise, predominate. The 



13 noeloq 

names of those tones are reminiscent of 1830 - romantic period in France* 

We now have Sleeping blue, Argentine blue, Shocking pink, Tropical pink, etc. 

Hats are quite often made or trimmed with fur, or again crocheted 
in dark cherry or other colored wool or white cashmere for sports wear. 
Enormous brims are to be a la mode for the Spring, 

Shoes with low heels are still a popular feature for the Winter . 
There is the novelty of the open toe shoe made of soft material and of 
various colors, A favorite footwear is the well fitted small black doeskin 
low shoe. A moderately low heel for walking is characteristic of the 
casual outfit, 


The formal classic soft peach color satin gown Mrs, Franklin D, 
Roosevelt wore at the Inaugural Ball of 19 bP (the President's third 
term), is a stylish and very handsome costume. 

Gut on the bias, the full circular skirt is extremely wide and 
finished with a train. It is a typically 19U0 fashionable gown, with 
a pointed bodice, beltless, fitted closely to the figure. A moderately 
low decolletage is in the form of a sweetheart shape (new at that time), 
finished with a beautiful pearl garniture. The short sleeves are slightly 
gathered at the armseye. 

This First Lady of the Land followed the same note of patriotism 
that others before her had expressed by having American designers and 
couturiers plan the numerous gowns for the various activities of that 
remarkable period. She chose the National colors of her beloved country, 


a white formal dress, two blue ones, a red one which was later called 
Eleanor red. All of her frocks were artistically fashioned and of the 
latest style. Eleanor red resembled a rich lacquer tone which was worn 
a great deal during 1°1jG, although the I9I4O color was white even for 
Winter. It is to be remembered that no vivid hues marked that memorable 
year as in 1939, except, of course, red, white and blue» 


The styles are similar to those of I9I4I and 19U2, without drastic 
change of silhouette (frozen by the War Production Board). A wonderful 
array of new colors and new designs on the various rayon and cotton 
prints, however, create an illusion of novelty in the 19 U3 modes. 

On the grounds that material must be kept for the war effort, this 
freezing of the feminine silhouette is actually saving the situation for 
the American designers who cannot depend on Paris for new ideas, radical 
changes and new lines. This extraordinary dictate from Washington is 
obeyed with docility by the women of the United States as a manifestation 
of patriotism. 

With this national regulation of la mode, clever fashion tricks 
plsy an important part in the designing of the year's frocks. For example: 
the kick plait gives the skirts an appearance of width, while the silhouette 
remains the decided cigarette type; the beauty of the new gowns is enhanced 
by the variety of its details and combination of tones. 

There is very little one can say in the matter of styles, only 
that the new fabrics replacing silk are quite satisfactory; latest among 
these being kasha, also, that the new tones inspired by present world 



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... no teuposi tioxi £ osicf.Tises'x bai ionce.CS .9X^+3 tfescffiX 

conditions are the chief concern of New York designers. There is a deep 
rich brown shade resembling tobacco favored for suits and daytime dresses; 
green is more for sports clothes. Formal attire is not de rigueur 
because women going out with men in uniform use more freedom in the 
choice of their dress for evening; therefore, gowns worn at social func- 
tions are short, very long, or mid-calf. As a whole, clothes for the 
courageous American women can be extremely charming and decorative 
despite the many restrictions imposed by the present external circumstances. 
Artistically cut and well fitted tailor-made suits (clothes are made to 
please the men) retaining their elegance are especially significant of this 
particular time. Worn at practically all social functions, very sensible 
and chic, a suit-dress is presented in classic lines, elaborately adorned 
with buckles, buttons of silver or gold inspired from the military costume 
of war years. Quality in fabric is the last word in women's attire. A 
noticeably slight droop of the shoulders is about the most conspicuous 
change in the new jackets. Lighter to wear and easy to slip on, these 
new jackets delight women. Gorgeous blouses of pastel shades made of 
shantung are smart, worn with a tweed or gabardine skirt. 

Stunning hats of various shapes are made of every kind of material 
from cotton, hemp, to a straw made of cellophane, and even from raffia. 
Tailored or fancy, with or without a veil, the chapeau is worn even after 
five o'clock. At certain social functions after this hour, it seems to 
be de rigueur . 

Shoes with high heels are not common, because of the essential need 
for women to be comfortable in their numerous war time activities. Hence, 
the reason also that slacks are in the limelight at all times of the day. 

Gloves, which are mostly fabric, are white or of the color of the 

outfit o 


We find that fashion has not yet changed dramatically. The War 
Production Board is still holding to its unusual decree (the freezing of 
the feminine silhouette). That decision has kept the skirt short and 
not too wide - of course, the most important factor of the War period 
was the saving of material. But now a change would be welcome. 

So far, however, American women manage to dress very well in 
spite of the same main lines as those of an up-to-date costume in 1°UU» 
While waiting patiently for a different silhouette, American designers 
have achieved wonderful results. A certain diversity of details, a 
considerable variety of new tones and textiles contribute largely to 
create appearances of novelty on the gowns of Fall and Winter l$h$* 

We are asking ourselves, will Paris regain her place in the 
fashion world, or will New York lead? This is the question, but it is 
rumored that the French couturiers are extremely busy, working hard to 
regain their place by creating entirely new designs, a radical change 
which would probably revolutionize the entire fashion industry. Let us 
wait and see what the end of 19k5 and the beginning of 19146 will bring 
in La Mode . 

New York designers have launched fascinating and ravishing modes 
for Fall and Winter in their recent openings. Their collection of 
dresses, coats, furs, shoes, and hats, were outstanding in a large 
variety of textiles, colors and trimmings. 

The diagonal or one-sided effect on all styles of frocks is chic 
and elegant, and so is the lovely peplum on the slim softly moulded skirt. 



Well manipulated folds in cascade on the skirt offer an appealing variety 
of accent on almost any kind of dress, formal or casual. There is limit- 
less diversity of trimmings such as pailletes, beads, glittering jewels, 
exquisite in their odd shapes of birds, stars, etc. These gleaming 
motifs on the gown (placed on one side only) have a rather unique dis- 
tinction, especially at this time. The star is a symbol of our great 
and powerful country. It is so pleasing to recall the French saying of 
1917 when we joined the war 1 "The sky looked dark, but the stars appeared 
to brighten the atmosphere." And then, stars and stars were embroidered 
on their models, as it is today; symbols of that kind on dark or black 
formal crepe gowns give Madame' s appearance a note of originality. 
Emphasis on the small waist and broad shoulders still persists, while 
the length of the skirt may be slightly longer - not enough, however, to 
call it a remarkable change. 

The decolletage for formal gowns is deep, square or round. For 
daytime, it remains much the same as last year - V-^ieckline, occasionally 
round, or sweetheart shape; high, close to the throat line, with a slit 
in front, it has style and distinction. White collars are still 
fashionable; neat and practical, they are made of various materials. 
A great deal of black is worn for both casual and formal wear. 

The dress sleeve is bracelet length, while what is called the 
barrel sleeve is quite often observed here and there. There is very 
little change, however, in the cut of the sleeves, elegantly styled they 
are often loose under the arm. 

In the realm of textiles, wool, thin and heavy is featured. It 


aeiwxaj to atu&i ©tj m. i 






seems as if one could find, easily enough, all kinds of beautiful wool 
fabrics. Simple cocktail or plain afternoon dresses are made of jersey, 
relieved by a wide fancy belt, of scarlet or of Chinese red heavy silk, 
adorned with sparkling metal beads or gold buckle. These frocks are chic, 
warm and practical. The unusual and gorgeous belts are reminiscent of 
the lUth Century wide jeweled girdles. 

The long range of lovely colors adding an accent of beauty to the 
new modes are royal magenta, nut brown, claret, purple, and sapphire blue. 
These fascinating tones are used profusely by our stylish couturiers and 
manufacturers. In the matter of fabrics, we have rayon crepe, some bemberg 
for evening wear, fleece, jersey, and again jersey, which seems to remain 
popular for all occasions. 

Furs are exquisite and breath-taking in their numerous variety: 
Nutria, platinum muskrat, Alaska seal, and platinum mink. There are even 
very chic coats of dyed champagne ermine adorned with Chinese red; they 
are not full length but are collarless and with huge bouffant sleeves. 
The belt on the fur coats is of a lighter or darker shade of the same fur, 
and seldom of the same color. Small fur hats (worn with a decided front 
tilt) to match the coats are featured to complete Madame' s or Mademoiselle' 

The sports wear coats of heavy rough tweed are useful and chic; 
these are belted and beautifully lined. 

Interesting and practical, the shoes are extremely comfortable. 
For formal or dressy occasions, suede is the first material to be used. 
The perforated shoe is here again, and the lower heel keeps its popularity. 


t 1 



Oxfords, with low heels remain the favorite footwear for business and casual 
social functions. 

Fascinating small bags made of leather match the casual daytime 
frock. Often adorned with a monogram, initialed, or a personal emblem, 
they were designed and inspired from the vSecond Empire "pouch" of 
Empress Eugenie. 

After a close analysis of the Fall and Winter modes, we conclude 
that the magnificent showing of New York, 19 U5> Fall and Winter modes 
are richer, designed with more freedom, and as a whole are more perfectly 
balanced in regard to fabric, colors, and line. It is too soon after the 
war to expect more than what we have been fortunate enough to receive 
from American designers who are still handicapped by the War Production 
Board decree which has not yet been removed. 

This year closes the chapter of the sad war years, when American 
women preferred to demonstrate their patriotism by almost forgetting 
about clothes. Their general problems were indeed far too important for 
them to realize the monotony of their silhouette. 








The Post War Years - 19)46 - 19U7 - New Look - 19)18 - Mrs. Truman - 19U9. 
Radical Changes in Fashion - New Colors - Fabrics and their Importance. 


There are already new modes from Paris, but at present Mew York 
still leads in the fashion world with a wide range of new lines. Skirts 
are fuller and slightly longer, some are draped gracefully on one side 
and there are godets, but not the large ones of 1893. 

Skirts show a marked variety of ampleur (fullness), some being 
pleated and others gathered. Circular skirts are trying their best to 
re-appear. French couturiers are sending models with extremely wide 
skirts. Worn with these, the sweater knitted in fancy stitches, is very 
much a la mode, especially among the younger group. Bodices have darts, 
and sleeves are short, long, ruffled, or pushed up. We note several 
artistic necklines, among which are the V, the bateau, and the cowl. 
This latter seems to eclipse the V and even the U that has such a distinc- 
tive quality. The long, buttoned front opening on casual frocks keeps 
its popularity, and the silhouette is accentuated by Dirndl, princess, 
or barrel hip skirts - even the bustle. 

The beauty of 19 U6 fashions is emphasized by the graceful and 
perfect harmony of the four main points (neckline, waistline, skirt and 
sleeve) on the new frocks which contribute in giving the silhouette an 
original and an outstanding quality of style not observed for years. 


U 9rfJ 

Fabrics, trimmings, colors, are exciting and beautiful. The range 
in color is almost limitless and includes lovely shades of lilac, lavender, 
aquamarine, peacock blue, sky blue, seagull gray, honey, beige, butter 
yellow, sun yellow, saffron yellow, and even canary. There are also 
cyclamen and tangerine, but the three new young tones are persimmon, 
grass green and classical gray. Also to be noticed among the new styles 
is a wide choice of stripes and lovely plaids. Black has not disappeared 
entirely but it has lost most of its war-year popularity. There are new 
and original color arrangements, including the adoption of the national 
triad of red-white-and blue, and complementary color schemes are featured 
on many of the new gowns. 

We are pleased to see again large and small collars of white lacej 
they are smart and a decided deviation from previous years. But one of 
the gayest and most charming fashions is that of the wide fancy belt made 
of felt, artistically cut and trimmed with buttons or laced with ribbon, 
imitating the girdle of the European peasant costume. 

Varied in their gorgeousness, we now have gabardines, corduroys, 
taffetas, soft rayon crepes and jerseys, satins, linens, cottons, and the 
exquisite chiffon-like bemberg. Then, the wool jerseys and the tweeds 
are outstanding in their color combination. The soft new materials are so 
beautifully dyed (fast colors easy to launder) and planned with such 
unusual artistic sense that one does not miss the pure silk, somehow. 
Their designs are polka dots, large and small, flowers and leaves, 
stripes, conventionalized fruits and plants of all sorts, even animals 
and country scenes in pleasing arrangements of tones in definite and odd 
motifs on light and dark backgrounds. New fabrics made of plastic and 




- • 

dyed in bright colors are used mostly for raincoats. These garments are 
quite original and cheerful — so different from the raincoats of the 
past when black and gray exclusively were the stormy day colors. 

The many post-war cloak styles have odd names, such as coachman's 
coat, shepherd 1 s coat, redingote, and the cape coat. The yoke collar is 
especially featured on these full and stylish garments. For the casual 
ooat of Madame and Mademoiselle black still seems quite a la mode, while 
the slim fitted jacket and the bolero are smart and coat dresses are 
quite the must of the season. These are especially practical for traveling. 

Hats are turbans gracefully draped and made of soft materials, such 
as net, chiffon, and jersey in pale tones. Peaked high on Madame 1 s head, 
they are clasped with a brilliant or bright jeweled ornament. Some 
designers from Paris and New York, however, trim their charming turbans 
with a large bow of a contrasting shade of ribbon with streamers or 
folds falling down the back. The French tailored beret is captivating, 
worn far back on the head, and so, also, is the pill-box chapeau. 
Occasionally we observe, but not too often, the large felt hat, so becom- 
ing to oval^shaped faces. 

Shoes are fascinating in their novel modes. Suede is the most 
popular leather. Heels are not much higher, but they are smaller for 
evening wear, although a certain freedom about footwear style is to be 
noticed, such as sandals and practically no heels for daytime wear. As 
we have said, shoes for all occasions show a large variety of style, but 
the open toe, the open heel, and the strap and fancy designs noticeably 


p X 
teen X .noasai 

■ . • ■ 

Furs lend their eloquence to the Winter outfit. Made in a style 
that leaves nothing to be desired, the blended muskrat, the mink, the 
very supple beaver, are all featured in simple casual lines, shorter than 
in past seasons and full, with large sleeves and practically no collar. 
Some, on the other hand, have hoods. 

191*7 - "THE NEW LOOK" 

This year marks the disappearance of the refined but monotonous 
dignity of the war years. An obvious expression of gaiety and lavishness 
appears on women's clothes. Although fashion changes (especially radical, 
entirely new lines) generally take a certain length of time to be really 
accepted and worn by the majority of our American population, what we call 
the "New Look" has been adopted without the usual delay. 

The main feature of this striking style deviation is the wide and 
longer skirt. Christian Dior, Parisian designer, certainly revolutionized 
the trend of la mode . His latest creation which covers the legs, pinching 
the waist, and changing the entire silhouette, has produced a sensation 
characterized by rather joyful enthusiasm. 

Fresh and original new lines may be observed in practically all 
models in New York style shows. The neck is high for daytime wear, also 
very low and called the "plunging neckline," Sleeves are short, often 
raglan style, with much less padding; the waist is small and slightly 
raised in a sort of Renaissance fashion, beautifully emphasizing the 
bust curves. 

Even the colors are more gay and especially significant of that 


, 3b oar J 



> r 



happiness resulting from the termination of the depressing war years. 
Black, gray, violet are almost disappearing from Madame 1 s wardrobe; the 
blues, the lovely browns, and the reds being worn by women of all ages. 
These bright hues are favored for the whole or part of costumes, for day 
and evening social activities, and even for business. For casual occa- 
sions, we find gorgeous and long ranges of vivid tones, especially 
flattering to the younger group. Many smart details are added to every- 
day frocks, buttons remaining the great favorite. 

Embroidery and stenciling on plain materials, such as linen, 
cotton or rayon crepe, give a note of originality on a casual or formal 
frock. Shiny silver or brilliant embroidery design units are also 
featured on white satin and chiffon, especially for evening wear. 

Cashmere, tweeds, the rayons, and bembergs continue to be most 
popular, though not entirely new; a certain diversity in the weave gives 
these materials a marked note of distinction. Of course, cotton, gingham, 
and linen held their own in popularity this past Summer and for warmer 
climates. Dyed in gorgeous hues and designed in a large variety of motifs, 
these thin textiles seem to replace silk, which is trying its best to re- 
appear. It is to be noted that silk has ceased to be the number one tissue 
even for very dressy occasions bemberg and rayon are used extensively. 

From Paris fashion shows come this bit of important news: It is 
the fascinating story of the tailleur (tailor-made suit) that seems to be 
in the foreground for both practical and dressy afternoon social affairs. 
Worn with charming blouses in pastel shades, the tailleur becomes appro- 
priate for almost every occasion. Some jackets are long, others are 



• d 

shorter than last year's model, but all of them have the "New Look." We 
still have the chic dressmaker suit. 

There are really three silhouettes for Madame to choose from, but 
they all decidedly emphasize the extraordinary "New Look" of 19U7 • A smart 
one of these shows a smaller shoulder and an extremely wide skirt. The 
swing is the main characteristic of what one likes to speak of as the 
"triangle silhouette." Some jackets are artistically trimmed with piping 
or braid, and even with hand stitching. But there is a style of loose 
coats on the more masculine suits which also have a vest of some contrast- 
ing material. 

The length of the skirt is more or less determined by the kind of 
dress, formal or casual. For daytime wear, fourteen inches from the 
ground for the average tall woman. There are extra skirts of various 
styles and shapes, the circular skirt often being featured with a bodice 
of different fabric. 

The two-piece frocks which had practically been put aside, appear 
again with entirely new lines. Beautifully trimmed, (sometimes on one 
side only) some are still buttoned in front. Several of our pretty after- 
noon dresses remind one of the 1930 modes. Flounces adorn an evening 
gown of ankle length, a length which seems to be the most popular, even 
for formal gowns* 

With fullness on the sides and raglan sleeves, a popular style 
of coat differs considerably from that of the past years. Of various 
lengths, short and long, even three quarters, these coats are a must 
for all occasions. The majority have lovely pockets. The fur coats are 


With this post war era, changes occur on every part of the feminine 
attire. We notice the small and large chapeau - a "casserole" shape on the 
short hair coiffure; then again, the larger, more bulky hat on the differ- 
ent yet stylish hairdo. The veil seems to keep its place as a most allur- 
ing addition. Whatever Madame 1 s hat may be, it is to harmonize gracefully 
with the current silhouette. 

Accessories, in the line of costume jewelry are, a necklace with 
pendant, pearl necklace with bowknot, earrings white and black, or in 
gold and pearls, and diamonds mixed with pearls. Small fur neckpieces 
of mink or sable are new and stylish. 

Miniature handbags (without a handle) of leather or corded silk, 
and long gloves are other indications of the "change." 

Shoes are worn with lower heels for daytime, extremely fancy ones 
for formal wear; there are satin backless sandals, or white satin embroid- 
ered evening shoes, also colored shoes in contrast or of a shade lighter 
than the dress. Satin or glossy silk pumps, having a pointed toe, are 
worn with the ankle length dress, so practical yet beautiful in the 
"New Look" style. 

Once again Paris dictates and New York designs gorgeous outfits 
with the freedom of the pre-war years, especially where colors and details 
are concerned. 







The unfolding of fashion this Winter is not as drastic as it was 
when the "New Look" made its memorable appearance. Many ladies' reluc- 
tance to accept this very radical "New Look," however, is wearing out, 
and everyone is now talking of the long and full skirt. 

When the new mode means an entire replacement of one 1 s wardrobe, 
the question of being up-to-date and chic becomes a very serious matter 
for women in the ordinary walk of life. That lovely billowy and longer 
skirt certainly takes more material, and last year 1 s gowns cannot very 
well be remodelled. Fortunately for American women, New York designers 
immediately foresaw this dilemma, and, using their ingenuity and genius, 
created beautiful and stylish clothes, partly copied and partly original, 
priced within the means of every woman. The market is actually flooded 
with up-to-date and chic women* s apparel # Of course, there are certain 
changes, such as a slight raise at the waistline, sort of Directeire 
effect. There is also the noticeable change in the length of skirts, 
some being even as much as twelve inches from the ground. 

The bracelet length sleeve, though far from new, is generally 
adopted for cocktail or even for dinner gowns. Less padding on the 
shoulders of the coats and many collarless jackets are observed in the 
various up-to-date collections. 

There is difficulty to analyze I9U8 modes, partly because of the 
diversity of influences responsible for designing such fascinating and 
beautiful fashions. English women, it is interesting to note, are the 
last to adopt these new styles, so that their suit skirts are still 



-oidst ' 


t ecrii> 


narrow, but longer. Perhaps the fact that British ladies are forced to 
economize more than we, accounts for their conservatism in dress. 

Besides the theatre plays in New York are instrumental as an 
important source of inspiration for our designers, there are interesting 
Godey touches that furnish added alluring effects on the general appear- 
ance of the new models. 

Furs are gorgeous and varied, with mink predominating in beauty, 
especially for coats, while beaver appears as a good second. The more 
common ones, such as Mouton, mink dyed muskrat, and Persian lamb, remain 
among favorites. 

These original American touches are greatly appreciated, as they 
relieve a person of the obligations of wearing the long and very wide 
skirt at all functions. The modified styles are especially for the 
tailor-made suit or practical walking costume. The plunging neckline 
is featured for all occasions, while the sweetheart shape and the high 
neckline remain favorites, especially for the younger group. Large hip 
pouches are one of these attractive innovations They serve as pockets 
which are popular on gowns and jacket s 

In theriliiner r line, there is actually very little novelty, but 
hats are small and close to the head. They are the beret, toque or 
turban, so smart over the short hair coiffure Hats are worn more than 
they used to be. 

For the South and even for the North, colors are pale, among 
which is the melting snow blue. White seems a favorite for bathing 
suits, a vanilla or Empire white rayon satin relieved by vivid colored 




trimming, is in vogue. 

There is a delicate lingerie look on certain Summer fabrics, 
organdie and stiff rayon chiffon are among those charming Summer materials. 
Serge of new pattern has appeared to astonish the chic women, always in 
search of new tissues 

As for shoes, sandals are showing more variety in design and are 
being worn a great deal, especially at the resorts, 

Mrs, Harry S, Truman, a charming and graceful Mistress of the White 
House, dressed fashionably, though not extravagantly as the year 19U8 was 
inclined to be after such a long period of plain, feminine attire during 
the war 

Being good looking, Mrs, Truman's coiffure was most becoming, 
composed of curls, a few almost covering her ears. 

Like several of our First Ladies, Mrs, Truman encouraged American 
designers, though following the French modes of Dior, Fath, etco, as the 
majority of American women do 

The trousseau she ordered for her husband's inauguration as the 
thirty-third President of the United States (19U8) was entirely planned 
and fashioned by American couturiers. Of colorful and exquisite fabrics, 
her dresses may be rightly classed as some of the most stylish and beau- 
tiful ever worn by former Presidents' wives. 

Most striking of all her gowns was the formal one she wore at the 
Inauguration Ball of that memorable event. It is to be hoped that it 



r 1 


(1 1 

will eventually be placed in the National Museum as a part of the famous 
collection of gowns having belonged to the many Mistresses of the White House. 

The dress exemplifies the full skirt period, and the material, a 
pearl gray satin brocade which is woven in a silver feather design. 
Although made in the United States, Ducharme of Paris actually designed 
this original pattern. Simplicity of lines was the keynote of that 
princess style formal attire. The bodice, rather close-fitting, has a 
moderately low decolletage, V neck in shape and finished with feathers 
cut out from the material. The sleeves have the "push-up" effect 'a' la 
mode, " bracelet length. They are neatly set in with the padded shoulder 
line of this period (19U8)o Long grey suede gloves come up to the end of 
the sleeves, below the elbow. A hat to match this costume was fashioned 
of mauve color flattened ostrich feathers, and adorned with small curled 
plumes, varying in tones from mauve to gray. 


There are certain things about fashion at present that seem hard 
to accept, such as the new stylish color, banker's grey, so dull, 
especially smart for flannel suits. It seems a relief to see other 
gayer tones, such as moss green, bright orange, and for evening the 
latest hue, champagne. In spite of the fact that black remains the first 
color, Madame glamorizes her wardrobe with the variety of tones used at 
the Fall showings of new models 

So much similarity in the modes 1 Still the slim silhouette I 
There are no striking effects, no real demand for a complete renewal of 
Milady 1 s 19U8 clothes. An artistic note is noticeable on the fabrics, 


however, which are lovely, though the cut and lines may not be entirely 
different from last year's. Many of their designs also are new, attrac- 
tive, and odd We now see leafy-flowered prints on plain background, 
the conventionalized design having lost its popularity. These beautiful 
motifs are on silks, rayon, even on velvet, which is used again, a 
velvet that does not wrinkle and is of rayon texture. How pretty were 
the printed piques, the polka dot cottons (though not new), colored 
organdie, calico, and candy cotton, so much in vogue this Summer I The 
hand painted designs were really beautifulo 

We are fortunate in having such a choice of new designs and new 
weaves on our materials - they do give a special chic to our 19U9 clothes. 

For Fall, the unfinished worsted tweed ensemble is a must for 
travelling, which has already reached a surprising peako The sweater, 
cardigan, or slip-on sweater in lovely pastel shades, Canterbury blue, 
lime, and pink, form an essential part of a young girl's wardrobe. 
Skirts are of wool checks, or occasionally white and luggage tan colors. 

Underwear is now made of nylon, so convenient for travel! It is 
rumored that dresses made of this marvelous tissue may possibly appear 
before long* 

Let us resign ourselves to wearing our 19ii8 and 19U9 clothes 
We have the happy perspective of 19f>0 when the celebration of half a 
century will bring about entirely new modes which will, no doubt, 
revolutionize again la mode, as in 19k7. 








V - 




The Mid-Century Year 1950 - The American Look - New Fabrics - 
Mrs. Eisenhower - Queen Elizabeth II of England - Guitar 
Silhouette, H Silhouette 

19S0 - 195$ 

This important calendar year (19^0) is still one of the great 
expectations in the line of new modes, A radical change was the hope of 
women whose chief concern is style and pretty fashions. 

Though this year marks an epoch in our American history in 
various fields of endeavor, such as scientific and chemical accomplish- 
ments, fashion changes are not as drastic as they were, for example in 
1931 and in 19U7 (the New Look). 

The main characteristic of this new era seems to emphasize what 
fashion experts like to call the "American Look." Elaborate style shows 
have definitely presented models of all descriptions. However, as far 
as new lines are concerned, accents of la mode seem to be on the bodice 
The neckline, though not exactly plunging, is often in the V shape 
variety, while the high white collar encircling the throat remains in 
the limelight. 

A 19^0 silhouette follows the soft classical lines of an enchant- 
ing musical instrument which is the GUITAR. The Guitar look, very fem- 
inine, may be analyzed as follows: round shoulder line, the material 
curving its way down forming a round bust to a very small waistline. 
Then either plaits or fullness have suggested this unique surname. 




The smart and chic tailleur, though varied with ingenious ideas, 
has appeared in the most select shops, styled in single and double 
breasted. Many of these tailor-made or dressmaker suits have very- 
little padding on the shoulders and some do not have any, but couturiers 
differ in their opinion of shoulder padding. In the couture group, some 
designers say that shoulder padding is essential to emphasize the snug 
(small) waistline. As a whole the styles are beautiful and the details 
of la mode extremely varied - glamour is the key-note of the mid-century 
year, and what many like to call the "Crisp Look" is favored. 

There is still the basic dress, plain but adorned a bit for after- 
noon ensembles, the jacket dress redingote, or the bolero outfits. Mixture 
of materials is fascinating for a formal attire, even taffeta and linen are 
occasionally observed on the one gown, put together in clever fashion tricks. 
Navy and white checks are the last word in light wool or cashmere. 

The stole is a m ust , matching an ensemble or made of fur. A 
separate cape collar or a tiny dolman just covering the shoulders, is a 
smart fashion. Textiles are still subtle and easy to manipulate in 
graceful folds. There will be cotton and more cotton for Southern climates 
and the summer at the seashores. Cotton and linens are now woven in dark 
tones varying in navy blues, black, bottlegreen or plum color. The dressy 
voile and organdies, and what we like so much, candy cotton, give a 
feminine look to the dainty Mademoiselle with a colored velveteen c©at 
of gay bright hues - short for summer. 

There is again, reminiscent of the early twentieth century, a 
charming style of shirtwaist dress; it really forms every girl's wardrobe. 


•LlSj-S.'JSsr.'-'lCi 3' 



The majority of these dainty frocks is fashioned in watercolor hues. 

In the line of fabrics, nylon keeps its popularity in a marked 
diversity of pattern and new shades. Celanese and acetate are still 
greatly used for their adaptability to fine tailoring. These two fine 
cloths also prove so satisfactory in laundering,, However, new weaves 
and new tissues are appearing all the time, and a new hand-loomed knit 
(like tweed) is called "poodle cloth," There is also an avalanche of 
ribbons and bows which are often the main accent of a formal, or what 
one calls now a classic gown. 

The motifs and designs on prints are entirely different from those 
of 19 k9) flowers are more or less misty, they seem to melt in the plain 
dark or light background, but the color arrangements are decidedly new 
and beautiful, small figures are emphasized. Exhilarating tones, such as 
soft true pink, coral, baby blue, emerald green, bright royal blue, 
Oxford grey, brown, cool beige called wet sand, and even the robin 1 s egg 
blue, are the 19^0 range of stylish tones. 

Where colors are concerned, however, this mid-century year is to 
be a red, white, and bine, Spring. A triad of this sort may possibly be 
a marked movement of patriotism, perhaps a suggestion of the great desire 
for peace that we American women always have in our hearts, and that we 
all so strongly advocate. 

Noticeably on evening frocks is a large red poppy on the bodice. 
Gay and brilliant hues for lining of coats are favored. 

In the millinery line, Madame 1 s chapeau has breath-taking names, 
inspired from breakfast food (corn flakes, Rice Krispies) - breakfast 
straw hats, Penny Sailor; but the Bustle back hat is a queer name for 


- ft 

the handsome soft and charming hat with the wide brim, made of organdy, 
lacquered felt, silk shantung horsehair, etc. They are worn straight 
on the heado 

Highly styled shoes are good looking though flat heeled and they 
are decidedly made for comforto 


The important event of the Inauguration of President Eisenhower 
that took place in Washington on January 20th gave rise to an unusual 
interest in feminine fashions, because of the desire and also the need 
of producing dramatic, classic, and casual clothes. There are to be so 
many social functions on the calendar for a winter in the American capital. 
This momentous occurrence has created a love for bright hues, which seems 
to be the joyful expression of this great political change 

As a whole, fashion is charming for many reasons, having so many 
kinds of interpretation and so much variety in the details and adjuncts. 
Also, in the choice of fabrics, smart and rich looking, are the velvets, 
the silk crepes (though rayon keeps its place in the foreground). Pure 
silk has appeared on many of our formal and expensive models, but for 
casual wear, wool is classed as a favorite. Mixed wool with aralac 
(that new soft textile) may be classed as a close second for practical 
daytime dresses, but all new materials are fascinating in their lovely 
new colors, and suppleness 

An extremely novel feature of the new year is the fact that not 
only Paris and New York are alone in the fashion picture as they used to 





be, but there are actually five other countries involved in the designing 
field. These are the H aute Couture world of Italy, which exists since 
19^0, when she then sent beautiful models to New York; the German 
Couture, the Swedish modes, and even Spain presented charming original 
styles. One may also remember Irish new designs in suits and coats 
made from her marvelous woolen tweeds. Britain, as we know, has been 
designing attractive tailor-made styles since l°Hl, although the actual 
launching of real models did not occur until a few years after the end 
of the war c 

The rendez-vous of couturiers in the recent fashion showings in 
New York established quite a precedent, and it is to be presumed that 
American couturiers will again be seen among foreign designers - quite 
a league of nations one would say. 

However, in the general analysis of winter fashions, three main 
factors are to be considered, beginning with the silhouette of which 
there are two very recognizable styles: the close-fitting and slim one 
that may also be called "Tulipe" silhouette (Dior's), so named because 
of its similarity to the open flower on a straight pencil-like stem. 
This form decidedly made a hit at some of the 1953 exhibitions of models 
and the other silhouette with the wide spreading full skirt, mostly 
favored for formal occasions, though it is popular oftentimes even for 
daytime wear. The "melting shoulder, " a decided step toward the normal 
old-fashioned shoulder look may be observed on both kinds of silhouettes. 
As for the neckline or decolletage, the "key hole, " though not entirely 
new, is preferred by the younger group, while the "plunging neckline" 


,1-Cs u<jo. 


still keeps its prominence for middle age ladies,. 

Secondly,- the field of trimmings is vast, and fur is in the 
limelight j it is used everywhere, on dresses, on accessories (leopard 
skin bags), bands of mink on frocks and on hats, even on the latest 
designed bathing suits, little ascots, etc. Leather is also used and 
the trend is for bits of it on various parts of a costume, on belts, 
on collars, and especially on the tiny chapeau where a quill is made 
of it to trim the dainty headgear. Jewel buttons adorn all kinds of 
frocks, even the wool and aralac ones. Large bows, though modified, 
are most attractive,, 

Third - In the color trend pink stays as a favorite (because of 
our First Lady 1 s inaugural gown) among a certain group, but red is 
emphasized by Paris for street wear, and the new name for that tone is 
Amarylis. It is especially observed on the college campus where sweater 
and skirt form "la toilette populaire" of the college crowd. For color 
schemes, a dominant harmony is the keynotej not so much contrast as in 
former years when complement aries appeared as the highlight of a fashion- 
able gown or a suit. 

But this is winter, and the styles of the spring and summe r wi 11 
give us prints with entirely different color schemes. From what we may 
observe now, riots of tones are to be worn in styles of Madame' s ward- 
robe. There are, however, at present many very practical points in 
this winter's fashion scene, though an accent of feminine fascinating 
beauty remains evident, in every model thus exhibited at the numerous 
style showings. Drastic changes do not appear to be evident especially 


in the standardizing of women's clothes. 

We hear "a travers les branches" so many queer rumors about style, 
fashions and women's clothes, but let us not be too much concerned about 
this gossip, although it is interesting to note that there has been a bold 
attempt to standardize women's clothes What the United States Federal 
Government' s Department of Commerce is trying to standardize is not so 
much style or fashion as the important matter of sizes. Briefly, it 
aims at minimizing the amount of time and energy needed for a woman to 
purchase and alter a new dress so that knowing her exact size and the 
kind of alterations she usually demands, she will be able to choose her 
exact fit without wasting so many minutes and so much motion trying on 
dress after dress. Experienced couturiers agree, however, that even this 
is quite beyond the male imagination. Standardizing anything in fashion 
is a delicate matter, but whether we like to admit it or not, some parts 

of our clothing have already been standardized stockings, for 

instance, whose colors remain practically the same year after year, 
varying in name only 

With June coming, an historic event of significance will take 
place and designers have been busy planning stylish original and beautiful 
clothes for many American ladies who will go to England to attend the 
memorable ceremony of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II„ American 
clothes will, no doubt, vie with European best models. Many, however, 
will buy Paris gowns which after all do not differ so much from ours. 


Id a-*, 


The present Mistress of the White House is very good looking, and 
dresses well "a la mode de Paris" where she resided long enough to catch 
the stylish atmosphere of the French Capital, which is also the Capital 
of fashions. However, like the majority of White House Mistresses, she 
selected an American designer who, nevertheless, followed the lines of the 
great couturiers of the Haute Couture of Paris. 

Mrs. Eisenhowers gown was a lovely silk of a most becoming tone 
called "Renoir pink" - a color which was very much in evidence in the 
paintings of the impressionist artist of the late 19th Century. Embroid- 
ered with more than twenty thousand rhinestones, the pointed bodice 
fitted closely to her figure, was sleeveless, and with a moderately low 
decolletage, somewhat reminiscent of the late nineties. An extremely wide 
skirt, touching the floor and without the long train previously seen on 
Inaugural ball gowns of the past, recalled a few of the formal gowns 
exhibited in the National Museum. It is to be noted that for the first 
time in history of the White House hostesses, Costume jewelry (pearls) 
adorned Mrs. Eisenhower's toilette. 

At present (1953* her hairdo is the becoming one that she chose 
soon after her return from Europe, simple but arranged in good taste - 
a wavy mass of curls smoothly set with a little fringe on her forehead. 

This new mistress of the White House was the first in that group 
to wear hosiery to match the gown she chose for various occasions. This 
style, however, was not generally adopted. 


.brie n^niiiool boo: : 



/.!>; v ' 


The gown worn by the gracious young Queen for the imposing 
ceremony of her Coronation, may not have been entirely different from the 
current style, that is, where the silhouette was concerned, but the 
design of its trimming, symbolic in nature, was decidedly unique in 

Fashioned of white satin, on princess lines, the royal costume 
was close fitting to the figure, with a neckline almost square over 
the shoulder, terminated in a sweetheart shape, moderately low. The 
sleeves were shorter than elbow length, finished similarly to the 

The full flaring skirt emphasized the note of originality which 
made this gorgeous attire odd by the pattern of its garniture, Embroid- 
dered with silver thread and pearls, the eleven different motifs, emblems 
of the nations comprised in the British Empire, practically covered the 
entire wide skirt of the regal gown. 

How interesting it must have been to see in that intricate needle 
work the Rose of England, the Thistle of Scotland, the Maple Leaf of 
Canada, the Golden Wattle of Australia, and even the modest plant the 
Leak of Wales, etc. The idea of this extraordinary embroidery pattern 
was conceived by Norman Haritarell^ the well-known British designer. 



We hear of surprising and flattering modes of new lines, new 
colors, new fabrics. So far, however, the most astonishing prediction 
has been that of the flat, long waisted silhouette launched by the lead- 
ing designer, Christian Dior, which many have called the H silhouette, or 
again the Torso figure, but whatever the new style for winter or the 
coming Spring may be, every device has been, and still is used by our 
great couturiers, to make women as attractive as possible* 

The controversy about skirt lengths continues, and it is doubtful 
if the majority of feminine groups, young, middle-age, or elderly, are 
paying much attention to that detail of a novel creation. Of course, 
the thrill of fashion is a decisive factor for Madame' s wardrobe, the 
element of surprise or originality (a problem in itself) offers the 
most fascinating of all factors comprising la mode, style or fashion* 
Everyone is thinking of lines. Some couturiers have succeeded in 
presenting in their models, effects of reducing lines, as it were, 
whether broken or diagonal,, The main problem is to be positive of 
the most important factor,- that is, adaptability to the latest silhou- 
ette: 1, Agej 2, Character^ 3, coloring; k, heighto 

The trend of 195U appears to be a low rounded hip line, high 
pushed up bosom,- in fact, the princess waistline - the slim silhouette 
trying its best to eliminate the wide skirt endorsed by Paris. It is 
said that French designers, anxious to please Americans, try to find 
young girls (mannequins) to look like our young feminine group in order 
to emphasize their models to advantage 


As for fabric interest, there is a great variety of textiles, and 
also of mixtures, plaids, soft pin-striped flannels tweeds, jersey, 
wool combined with cotton. Silk is in the limelight often mixed with 
wool or cotton, it gleams into coats, suits, even bathing suits. In 
regard to bathing suits, the latest fad is the long sleeved costume 
generally made of wool jersey. Then comes the "sleeper" to be worn on 
an airplane; this garment is actually the last word for comfortable 
snoozing* Fashioned of thin flannel or challis, checked in attractive 
tones, this new kind of attire may be apparently quite chic when belted 
in ready for landingo 

Hues are soft though not exactly pastel shades - caramel is 
favored, and navy blue for a basic color, black a good second, small 
black and white check. The prints are delightful in their small color- 
ful patterns* This promises to be a nasturtium year, either convention- 
alized or in their natural shape this small flower is seen a great deal. 
Still, a great couturier chose the lily-of-the-v alley for his inspiration, 
bunches of it everywhere on gowns, on coats, even at the waistline. He 
even goes as far as to call the rounded silhouette of 1951+ (raised bust- 
line) the Lily-of-the-Valley figure. 

A note of interest seems to be in the collarless necklace. The 
loosely fitted jacket with the flat-pleated skirt is extremely popular. 

Predictions for Fall modes center on jewelry, a variety of rhine- 
stones, sapphires, rubies. 

"Nude shoes" are the latest on the market, favored because of 
their flexibility and practicability. 




Great joy is in store for those who favor the waistline where it 
really belongs, and that is the future forecast of late 19!?£ and early 
19^6 in the Fashion world. 

Li spite of the tireless efforts of French and American designers, 
the natural waistline failed to be eliminated in many of the various 
models that were exhibited at the most exclusive Fashion collection. 

On certain youthful frocks the wide skirt was eminent, and the 
broad effect of the shoulder was emphasized by a puffy sleeve. 

While the suit jackets are rather loose fitting and the narrow 
skirt appears to be a kind of hobble style, the dresses are closely 
and tight fitting with a "jupon" flaring at the bottom (similar to the 
Spanish flounce of 1906); this silhouette is called "the Trumpet,, 11 
It appears as if our designers were rather musically inclined in select- 
ing names of musical instruments. One, no doubt, remembers the Guitar 
line of a few years ago„ 

The Far East influence is quite obvious in the elaborate touches 
of delicate embroideries of motifs adorned with jewels. 

In the field of classic evening gowns the strapless dress remains 
the number one choice, especially among the younger group. 

There is a model called Princess Margaret. Its lavish and intri- 
cate style may be the reason, since the very full skirt trimmed with 
brilliants, the bodice with white mink, give such a creation a decided 
effect of royal grandeur 

The rich satin and the lustrous lames often make up the beauty of 


the so-called shapeless gowns, there is the smooth and charming broadcloth 
and speaking of tweeds, there never was such a diversity of patterns and 
colors<> A propos of this unparalleled fabric, one often wonders where 
the name tweed comes from. It seems, so the story goes, that about 1826, 
when the Scotch, well known for their twills (which they spelled "tweels"), 
sent some of that cloth to London, a rather careless clerk received it 
and wrote the now famous name "tweeds" on the invoice for the goods 
delivered. This apparently small error was never corrected and "tweeds" 
it remains for which England, Scotland and Ireland are so well known. 

In the brilliance of Fall fashions even the French are most 
enthusiastic about this very popular textile which they manipulate 
cleverly to fit the new "allumette" silhouette (match) becomingly, 
whether it is the heavy English tweed or the more delicately woven Irish 
material. Also, in the woolen line, jersey mixed with <nrlon make up in 
delightful styles in plaited or narrow plain skirts worn with charming 
blouses of unusual original patterns. 

There is a long range of Fall tones. Varied in their values, 
the grays are still chic, while the browns hold a good place in choice. 
The reds more on the orange or the garnet color vary noticeably from the 
195>U shades. They are still vivid and becoming to all types of femininity. 
Royal blue has regained its splendor, while lemon, yellow and sky blue are 
favored for classic evening wear, amethyst is occasionally observed at 
cocktail parties, probably because of its beautiful effect caused by 
artificial light. 

Everyone loves the beret, but a "chapeau" that seems to please 


the young college group is the "penwiper" small cloche edged with a fringe 
of the same tone,, It is so different that it is worn mostly by the so- 
called sophisticated type who wishes to be original,, It is, of course, 
a French innovation,. 

There are furs, to line the dressy velvet and satin cocktail 
wraps and also to be used as trimmings, such as chinchilla, which is 
almost white, ermine and blue mink. 

Mademoiselle may now keep her hands warm as the small round muff 
called "beer-barrel" has returned to the fashion world. It matches a 
hip length jacket fashioned of the new luxuriant fabric "dynel" which is 
manufactured to resemble fur, so comfortable and so much like woolo In 
rather light hues like beige or gray, this outfit should be the keynote 
of a late Fall wardrobe. 

In the realm of new coiffures names are still astonishing, the 

poodle cut of 1953, the poney tail "which we still see, and now we have 

the atomic hairdo that resembles the "chignon a la grecque" often 


mentioned; this one, however, is higher and somewhat different. 


















Suitability in dress differs from Costume Designing which we have 
discussed already at length. That which we call suitability in dress may 
be attained easily whether one buys ready-to-wear clothes or makes them 
herself if one pays attention to those various details involved in the 
matter of what is suited to one's self and the use to which one expects 
to put the garment o 

All phases of fashion are interesting and to discuss the style, 
the new line, fabrics, colors, and trimmings has an indescribable fascin- 
ation for women, partly perhaps because it challenges, her creative 
instinct and partly because of her craving to look as attractive as 

We must admit, however, that although the American woman makes a 
habit of window-shopping, attends fashion shows zealously (often at the 
sacrifice of a matinee or a movie) and pores over fashion magazines, 
nevertheless, she does all this often without due regard to what she sees 
in relation to herself. She even does a great deal of indiscriminate 
copying. Yet she could create her gowns herself to harmonize with her 
own personality without too much effort Today, fortunately, the young 
American girl is beginning to realize the importance of that which the 
French mean by their magic little word, chic© 

Before the two World Wars we quite often spoke of the French 

woman as the most stylish and best dressed person in the world; and 
although she cannot now afford to be so smart-looking as formerly, she 
remains the most practical and economical in the matter of clothes. 
The French working girl and the French woman of moderate means may not 
possess so complete a wardrobe as their American friends, and their 
frocks may even be homemade (and generally are), but Parisians know how 
to glamorize by their strict attention to details. They adapt fashion 
to their particular figure, combine colors to harmonize with their 
special type of complexion, hair and eyes, and they never hesitate to add 
a bit of originality to their dresses. If the latest print or color dif- 
fers too conspicuously from that of the previous season, as sometimes 
happens when the new designs have been inspired by some current event, 
perhaps, or a recent art exhibit, then the French woman rids herself of 
last year's creation by the simple device of selling it c 

Of course, it is indeed a problem for any woman, especially of 
moderate means, to know how to dress suitably for all occasions and at 
all times of the day. For the American woman, the very abundance of 
variety in materials and accessories increases her difficulty, but if 
she would only devote to suitability the study it demands, she could, 
with her brains and ingenuity, set a standard for other women of the 
world to follow instead of following theirs 

Remember that all details of La Mode are important, not only in 
themselves, but also in their relation to the individuals personality, 
and it is as much a woman's business to dress suitably as it is the 
designers' to create new models. 


>tl&Qla J.O 19 u. 

eoitfaciq vfcom e 


Lfcfo i#jCoo 10 d - ; 



When the average woman is confronted with the necessity of buying 
or making her wardrobe, what general principles should guide her to 
assure this much desired suitability? The problem is not so simple as 
merely at random to buy or copy the production of some famous designer, 
for if the dress makes the woman, it is equally true that a woman can 
ruin a dress. The most ravishing creation of an internationally-known 
maker can look cheap and dowdy on the wrong type of form, face, or 
personality and, on the other hand, a very ordinary well-made gown can 
look "simply stunning" on the right woman who knows how and when to 
wear it. 

The guides to suitability lie in these three questions: (a) What 
is my type of personality? (b) For what am I getting the gown? (c) Can 
I afford it? 

A Type of personality ,, To discover your type, have a heart-to-heart 
talk with your mirror and then another with yourself — honest self- 
analysis, in other words. Keep in mind that the four general factors 
determining physical appearance are: (l) Proportions; (2) Coloring; 
(3) Age; (U) Temperament o 

Proportions ,, What are your proportions? Are you tall and 
slender — "skinny" even? Tall and big (Amazonian)? Medium and slender? 
Medium and fat? "Petite"? "Roly-poly"? Having determined your propor- 
tions, ask your mirror about 


Coloring o Am I a true blonde? Brunette? Red-haired? (Titian)? 
"Platinum blonde"? Does my complexion "go" with my hair? Am I truly a 
"peaches-and-cream"? Or florid? Or just "fresh" complexioned? Sallow? 
Perennially freckled, maybe? 

Age And what about my agej do I pass for older or younger than 
I am? Am I young? "Mature"? Middle-aged? Old? To get this answer do 
not question only your face in the mirror but ask your form, also, for 
age publishes itself in form as well as in face. And just as judicious 
make-up can belie Time a little so also can judicious dress conceal some- 
what the ravages of the years. In parentheses, while we are on this 
side-talk of appearance, ask your mirror whether your features are large 
or small, regular or irregular. Your prettiest feature? What is essen- 
tial in this heart-to-heart talk with the mirror is to be just that - 
frank. Be wholly honest with yourself in classifying your physical 
appearance. Then, facing your "weak points, " you can dress to hide themj 
your "strong points, " to make capital of them. Finally, we come to 

Temp eramento Still before your mirror, ask yourself: What really 
is my temperament? Am I vivacious (lively) Matter-of-fact? Jolly? 
Pensive? Or just serious? A naturally vivacious woman certainly cannot 
dress like her solemn sister though she may belong to the same physical 
category of coloring, contour and age. The ingenue of half a century 
ago and also the fat, shapeless, goodnatured motherly soul, have prac- 
tically disappeared. Instead, we have the very much poised, rather 
sophisticated young person in her gay peasant skirt or bright, tailored 
"shorts" and pretty sweater, and the plump, well-girdled, brassiered, 



correctly-gowned, well-grooiaed and poised matron who proudly admits in 
an aside that she has five and the oldest is working his way through 
college,, Both these types, products of modern living, have unconsciously 
evolved a costume suited to their personality, and the girl, at least, is 
much more comfortable than was her forbear in whalebone "stays" and lacings 

If personality stamps itself on dress, no less is it true that La 
Mode has an important effect on the wearer* For instance, when knee- 
length skirts became fashionable in England an old family butler told his 
Duchess mistress that he could no longer serve her On being asked why, 
he answered "I cannot show you proper deference in that short dress." 
He was rightj his lady' s commanding dignity had, for him, gone with the 
discard of the long skirt and train. Unwilling to lose her valued butler, 
the Duchess compromised by having a long panel added to the back of her 
frock long enough to train slightly. The butler stayed. The Duchess 
herself related this amazing incident. 

With regard to this matter of dress as an index to personality, 
a well-known designer once said, "Tell me how this person dresses, the 
color she favors, and I shall tell you her character." Apropos color, 
an artist was once asked by a mother what color her daughter should wear 
to attract men (for whether we like to admit it or not, behind our wish 
to be pleasingly dressed is an innate fundamental desire for sex appeal, 
says the psychologist). The artist answered, "Dress her in red." 
Although this does not mean that we should all rush to don red frocks, 
it is true that warm colors, especially those of a reddish cast, affect 
more powerfully than cold hues. 

But in this matter of type all four characteristics — Proportion, 

Coloring, Age and Temperament — must be considered together if milady 
would master the secret of the "know-how." For instance, the tall 
"skinny" girl, with an eye to breadth, should choose the oblique and 
horizontal lines or broad vertical lines generally. Even the medium tall 
girl can cany the flamboyant touch better than either her very tall or 
her too short sister,. Miss Tall should favor the bateau, square or 
round, or even a close-fitting high neckline, but Miss Roly-poly should 
keep the V shape as much as possible, or the high neckline. The petite 
person can wear a dominant scheme of colors better than her sister. 
In the matter of printed fabrics she should confine herself to small 
designs — conventional flowers, small polka dots, squares, circles, 
etc., but Miss Tall can wear large motifs successfully. Coming back 
to the question of lines, draperies are stunning on the tall figure; 
the short may manage a few graceful folds if in harmony with her small, 
form, provided her derriere is not too prominent. As a matter of fact, 
whether a woman is tall or short, stout or slim, every little detail 
of her costume either adds to, or detracts from her personality. 

The girl with strong, irregular features can carry the tailored 
styles in day wear and pronounced effects in evening frocks with much 
more eclat, i.e., look more what Parisians call distingue than her 
merely pretty neighbor. 

As for color, always remember that harmony of tones is all- 
important in choosing your costume (For color-harmony see Book One, 
Chapter IX, page 54 ) . If you are making the garment yourself, you 
have a wide selection of fabric and color, but if you are buying it 
ready-made, you will have to depend on mass production. Here it is 




II sd- i 

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that one must not be influenced by the indifferent saleslady whose stock 
phrase for any and every customer is the same: "This frock does something 
for you." Perhaps it does — but -what? 

So much for Type of Personality, Fortunate are you if you are 
easy to classify, because in and between the groups we have described 
are all gradations of type c The wise woman, then, will not only know 
her type but wherein she deviates from it. Summing up, "Know thyself" 
is an absolute essential if one is to make capital of one's personality 
and insure suitability of dress. 
B. What An I Getting the Garment For? 

Now comes the question of why one is getting the dress or suit. 
Many a woman would have saved her husband his dollars and herself tears 
had she settled that question before she caught sight of "such a love 
of a dress" that she bought it on the impulse of the moment with no 
regard as to whether she needed just that kind of gown at that time 
The smartly dressed girl makes no such mistake. She sees to it that 
what she has in her wardrobe is there because she has real use for it 
and so it is that she is gowned suitably for (1) the time of day, (2) 
the place, (3) the season of the year and the climate, and especially 
for (U) the event. It is these considerations that justify the large 
wardrobe of the woman of large income. But the woman of limited means, 
who is Mrs. Average Woman, can be quite as smartly dressed by resorting 
to the "all-occasion" costume or ensemble that is increasingly popular, 
provided she plans with care. It is here that the matter of textile 
and color combinations loom big (and, as we have said before, access- 
ories must be in keeping, simply mus t I) 



As the basic color of her wardrobe, navy blue is suitable for a 
blonde and brown for a brunette,, Black is good for almost all types, 
but quite often has to be relieved by white or a contrasting tone to 
harmonize with the complexion of the wearer. In the case of blonde or 
Titian-haired types, their hair tone being a complement to navy blue and 
a contrast to black, they may wear these basic colors decidedly to 
advantage. The range of hues permissible to a blonde, however, are as 
wide as U80 tones, whereas the brunette has only 370; but the majority 
of complementaries, both pale and dark shades are for her* The blonde, 
often considered a cool type because of her blue eyes, may favor some 
warm tints with a complementary cool accent,. The vivacious person 
looks well in cool tones with a vivid, up-to-date touch. The "Titian" 
(360 colors) or red-haired girl must devote great thought to her choice 
of color. But difficult though she may find it to believe, this rare 
type, the Titian-haired girl, will discover that she can wear success- 
fully a range of analogous and dominant shades such as brown, peach 
color, very pale yellow, etc,, avoiding warm hues in their full intensity. 
Complementary colors are often stunning, indeed, on the girl of this type 
whose hair compels attention. By her judicious choice of the hues we 
have just mentioned she may even far surpass in attractiveness her 
sisters of the other classifications. Will surpass them, in fact 1 

As for the gray haired matron (with 280 colors to choose from) 
a certain amount of conservatism is necessary for her if she wishes to 
appear at her best, Madame with the lovely white or gray waved coiffure 
can be most attractive in warm tones in harmony with her complexion, 



T.T f*fO*~ 

omitting, however, the neutralized dull hues. Basic colors may be black, 
navy blue, white, but seldom brown, especially for the gray hair-do<> 

(1) Time of Day Q Time of day is especially important in choosing 
colorso The very color itself that is pleasing in daylight may look 
insignificant or ugly, or just different, when evening lights are on; 

the reverse, also, may be true 8 Even black and white to not look quite 
the same in both day and evening light „ More important still, the tint 
that sets off exquisitely one 1 s complexion, eyes and hair in soft 
artificial light may do "anything but" in broad daylight. Draping, too, 
may be used more freely for evening wear and for the same reason — 
difference in light affects lines, also. This difference affects even 
textiles. Velvets and chiffon, for instance, are more alluring in 
artificial light but tweeds and rough wools or cottons generally lose 
much of their subtlety and look duller. No less is it true that some 
individuals themselves appear to much better advantage in the daytime 
( "look prettier") ; others, in the evening. Study yourself to know in 
which group you belong and devote the more care in choosing garments 
intended for that time of day which is less favorable to you. 

(2) Place . Second only to Time is Place. Are you an urban or 
a suburban dweller? If a suburban or country woman and one to whom 
sports clothes are becoming, your problem is very simple: Keep to them, 
but avoid extremes or eccentricities; if you are not, choose modified 
sports or loose-fitting suits with trim blouses and emphasize the 
feminine in your accessories. It is to be remembered that in the 
country fashion follows more simple lines than in the city. Those few 


souls in the country who possess courage enough to be different from their 
neighbors should realize that socially, extremes are fatalo These 
courageous ones must face the fact that there exists in the country a 
stricter standard of appropriateness than is true in the city, hence the 
rural dweller is more or less obliged to follow whatever styles have been 
approved by the conservative, the elite, of her small community,. If she 
keeps this in mind, however, when exercising her urge to be different, 
to be original, she may still dress with as exquisite taste and be as 
smart-looking as her city sister All that is needed is this restraint 
in creating new effects such as, for instance, a change in color combina- 
tion, a new neckline, or a belt of odd material, or a sleeve-re-cut, or 
even a gown re-dyed These modified variations from the conventional 
can enhance considerably her personal charm « 

The nut to crack for the city girl is in direct contrast to her 
country cousins. Although she has far more latitude in extremes, she 
must realize that others may favor the same new wrinkle that caught her 
eye. She should therefore plan an original note of some kind if she 
wishes to be different, 

(3) Season and Clima te. Both these must be considered. Some 
women look their best in Summer clothes, others in Winter. Are you a 
Summer girl? Then for Winter planning select suits with summery-looking 
blouses or indulge in light, fluffy accessories to the Winter dress. 
Do you live in a damp, rainy climate? Key your wardrobe to look "smart" 
in the rain. Choose textiles for their resistance to dampness. What we 
call "miracle fabrics" come into play here, for they are materials that 


do not need to be ironed or pressed. Nor are these textiles exclusively 
summer-looking any more. It is a joy to find that now nylon, or Ion, 
etc., is woven to resemble, and very successfully, not only silk but even 
wool and jersey. Of course, you know that cloudy, rainy or snowy weather 
tends to dull one's appearance, and until recently (even now somewhat) 
storm togs emphasized the dullness. Offset this disadvantage by a little 
dash of bright color, such as a chic bit of bright costume jewelry, a 
vivid scarf, or even a gay little "hankie" peeping from the pocket 

(U) Event or Purpose . Of utmost importance is the purpose or 
the event for which a costume is intended. A woman cannot look "correct" 
who wears no matter what stunning or costly garment if it is not suited 
to the use to which she is putting it. Nor does this mean that to be 
dressed always in good taste she must have a crowded wardrobe and a long 
purse. Nearly a century ago the celebrated artist, Rosa Bonheur (1822- 
1899) > the first woman to be accepted as a student in the Ecole des 
Beaux Arts, Paris, set the pace for simplicity in the unique, comfortable 
costume which she designed for herself. It met the demands of time, 
place, season and purpose, consequently, whatever the current fashion 
at any time, Rosa Bonheur seemed dressed in good taste. Its basic tone 
was navy blue or black, generally It consisted of a short skirt and a 
velvet jacket, loose and comfortable, adorned with white collar and 
cuffs. Although her coiffure was a curly bob similar to the 19Sl hair- 
do, long before women had even dreamed of bobbed hair, she always 
looked feminine o 

What we mean here by Event or Purpose is considerably more 


4~ 1 


individual than we realize,, Suitability for event or purpose in regard to 
one's own costume means: Am I getting this for daily business wear? 
For a cocktail or a tea, or is it for Mrs. So-and-so's soiree? Or perhaps 
just something for daily afternoon wear — the pretty frock to don after 
the day f s housework or office routine or shopping tour, in which to greet 
hubby with a smile and a fresh-from-the tub aspect? 

For all of these occasions the "miracle fabrics" of which we have 
spoken are extremely well adapted. If made of nylon or orlon, etc,, a 
formal attire is easily packed. Even with the strict four yards wide 
skirt of today, the material is easily folded, and when taken out of the 
suitcase needs no pressing,. This is a boon to the office girl or teacher 
or business woman who, perhaps, must take her frock with her to work. 
For such workers, however, the indispensable garment is the three piece 
"ensemble." Since, today, short skirts after five o'clock are not only 
tolerated, but even stylish, the ensemble permits milady to transform 
the business outfit of the morning into a "correct" evening dress by the 
simple removal of the jacket and a change of accessories. As for the 
required decolletage, even in the office or at business our girls do 
not hesitate to wear the plunging neckline although they often prefer 
the keyhole or of calla-lily shape, always so popular. In any case, 
to be truly useful and at the same time have "an air, " both suit and 
blouse should be made of the best material one can afford, and it 
should also be non-crushable. These two qualities are a must . 

"Afford" brings us to the next, or third and final question, 
that of the budget* 



(°) Can I Affo rd It? That milady pay her respects to the family 
or personal budget is indeed necessary since the price of a gown may cause 
vast difference in one's selection — or should, for peace in the heart and 
at the fireside. It is here assumed that any girl old enough to plan and 
buy her own wardrobe has already learned the A B C of budgeting. The 
budget, therefore, having dictated how much you may safely spend on your 
new dress or suit and its accessories , tale a few trips down town to 
visit the most select dress shops. Keeping in mind your physical and 
temperamental type, sketch, or memorize, the latest silhouette, the new 
line, color, and general effect of what you think should be becoming to 
you . Thus equipped, go next to where your purse will stand the prices 
and try to find a gown or suit similar to that shown in the exclusive 
small shop It is well to remind yourself, however, that you are buying 
a this year 1 s style and not a last year's mode i Shopping in this manner 
will take a little longer, no doubt, but v;here the saving of money is 
concerned the sacrifice of time is worth while Remember, also, not to 
spend all on the dress however great may be your temptation because 
accessories, jewelry and millinery must be taken into account and seldom 
will all the old accessories fit the new purchase ! But perhaps you do 
have on hand some article that will be just the thing to go with the new 
frock. So much the better. Mentally review your possessions. If you 
do have something that may be used effectively, then you may devote 
more attention and more cash to those details that must be bought 

Good taste itself demands that a woman dress in keeping with 
her station in life and her budget. Who has not smiled pityingly at the 


woman who has sunk too large a sum on the expensive fur coat in which she 
struts, wearing, say, shoddy shoes I She is not stylishly dressed because 
good taste demands that the accessories (shoes, gloves, etc ) be in keep- 
ing with the main garment, and for these she has no dollars left. 





As we have already learned, the silhouette is the most important 
part of a costume, 

A season's silhouette, "the new silhouette" as it is always 
called, will differ from that of the preceding season in some essential 
structural detail. As we have said (See Book . On*- , Ch„ X, "Analysis 
of Style" p 60) the essential details of a silhouette are the skirt, 
waistline, neckline, and sleeve. Once launched, new models are bought 
by the foremost women's clothing houses, particularly of the United 
States for large sums of money. 

The silhouette is copied, gowns are made with variations and 
adaptations of minor details and produced in quantity by dress manufac- 
turers, then put on the market. 

For this reason society's elite prefer to patronize the small, 
exclusive shop whose own designer, inspired by the Parisian model, will 
"create" something similar according to the patron's individual taste 
and figure. Even so, however, the silhouette will not differ from that 
issued by fashion's famous dictators. 

Suitability and Originality in Relation to the Ready-Made Purchase 

Mrs. Average Woman, however, contents herself with purchasing the 
ready-to-wear gowns made by dress manufacturers, knowing that these are 
patterned after the Parisian or New York artists' models reproduced in 



various hues, with different color arrangements, etc. She is aware that 
eventually the new silhouette will appear everywhere either in models 
in shops that observe correctly the laws of Unity, Proportion and 
Emphasis or, in others that are mediocre because the garment has been 
fashioned out of inferior materials, etc. 

She should be armed also with the following facts about the manu- 
factured gown: After the designer employed by the manufacturing concern 
has made his model which he has adapted from the famous designer 1 s "new 
silhouette, " he cuts it in a perfect size 16 or 18, If the model has 
made "a hit, " it is then graded in different sizes. There are three 
different kinds of figure to which our modern dress manufacturers cater 
to - they are, the tall, the medium-sized and the smallo They further 
classify into the following sizes: 12, lU> 16, 18, 20, 22, etc., up to 
U8, Nationally known department stores that specialize in feminine wear, 
include half-sizes, also, in their stock. Even so, almost always the 
ready-to-wear dress has to be altered somewhat to fit the purchaser 1 s 
form correctly. It is said that actually the perfect feminine figure 
does not exist — not even among the movie stars whose drawbacks are, 
as a matter of fact, very cleverly hidden by the experts who design 
their costumes. Be sure, then, when buying your frock, to have it 
adjusted to your form in all respects. 

You ask, if she buys her dress ready made, how can Mrs, Average 
Woman hope to produce any impression of personal originality? Admittedly 
it will have to be on a very limited scale, of course, and will consist 
chiefly in changing a detail such as buttons, or the substitution of 




some small decorative motif or other trimming, (See Book One - Page 63 
in which we discuss this matter more fully,) Her other means, and very- 
effective, is in choosing her accessories with discrimination. It is 
comforting to keep in mind, moreover, that manufacturers make only a 
relatively limited quantity of any given style, and since these are sent 
all over the country, no one realizes, nor do we, that we are buying a 
mass production frock unless, as occasionally happens, alas! we meet 
someone gowned exactly like ourselves. It is to forestall this calamity 
that we go to the trouble of making some slight change that will give 
the stamp of much desired originality, or even do our own designing in 
relation to that new silhouette* 

Suitability in Designing a Costume for One 1 s Self 
We hear that there are approximately more than 26,000,000 sewing 
machines in the United States and that about 90% of our feminine popula- 
tion do some kind of sewing. For instance, the young married woman in 
moderate circumstances, mother of two or three youngsters, cannot afford 
ready-to-wear clothes, so she takes a course in costume designing in 
class or by book (if she has not already done this in high school). In 
fact, home dressmaking is becoming so universal that contests for 
original and well-«iade garments are quite often held to encourage the 

The commercial paper pattern (invented by Mrs, Ebenezer Buttrick 
in. 1853) is undoubtedly a very great help to the amateur fashioner of 
frocks who will make the needful changes to satisfy her urge for 
originality. Of course, the experienced designer will draft her own 


pattern, which is bound to be more satisfactory. As for that matter, 

any woman who knows the A B C of cutting and making a dress can design for 

herself an original frock if she follows the general laws of construction — 

Unity, Proportion, Hmphasis — and the fundamental rules of Art — Harmony, 

Balance, Sequence in relation to both line and color. First, she must be 

willing, as we said in Book One, Chapo X, to do the little preliminary 


Assuming that milady does know the A B C of dressmaking, and that 
she is keeping in mind the purpose of her gown-to-be, let us review the 
steps she will now take. With pencil and notepad in hand she will make 
the rounds of the representative high-grade dress shops. She will analyze 
the models of the "new silhouette" till she has become thoroughly 
acquainted with it, wherein its newness lies and how it is achieved; its 
lines, color, tint, etc©; the kind of material used in its construction; 
she will even cast an appraising eye on the accessories used to complete 
the fashion figure, the dummy, displaying it. From the rough sketches 
and notes she has taken, she will develop the sketch. 

In adopting wholly, or adapting, perhaps, the current fashion to 
her own personality, milady will have taken into consideration the question 
of those lines, for this is of prime importance. More, she will not for- 
get that a garment to be beautiful, to be "correct," must have both 
harmony and balance in color as well as in line, and she will remember 
also that there will be greater emphasis on the one or the other depend- 
ing largely on the current style,, This is why she must not only study 
the style as a whole, but then analyze its structural parts: (skirt, 



sleeve, waist, neckline) Having decided what part of the fashionable 
frock will be most becoming to her own type of physical personality, 
the next thing will be to plan the rest of the garment in conformity 
with that chosen part in order to observe that law of unity which is 
necessary to produce the artistic whole c Surely the lady's knowledge 
of Emphasis in artistic production will safeguard her in her zeal for 
originality from attempting too many Original touches on the one dress. 
One, or at most two, suffices; each additional "touch" detracts from 
the others. These various points considered and decided upon, she is 
now ready for the actual construction of her dress which is taken up 
in the next Chapter, 




1* Copy from a magazine a pleasing figure and sketch on it a perfectly- 
plain slip; or, draw a lay figure by measurements. Make this sketch 
about ten inches longo Dash off at least twenty of these small sketches - 
figures only - as illustrations show. 

2. Analyze half a dozen present-day illustrations in newspaper advertise- 
ments or fashion magazines of garments similar to the one you plan. Also, 
get out some historical fashion plates from which to draw inspiration, 
but do not copy it exactly. Begin at the neckline. Decide on the kind - 
square, round, etc., but add an extra line or point somewhere, to have it 
different from any of the illustrations. Then make ten or more quick 
sketches, about three or four inches long of the entire bodice. It 
should be in the current style generally. On these sketches experiment 
with your neckline detail until you have achieved one that is pleasing 
and that you do not recall having seen elsewhere. This little change 
alone will give the bodice an air of originality. With regard to the 
sleeves, which also should be in the current style, a little piece cut 
out or added to the top or the bottom of them will augment the "new look." 
Once having decided upon the bodice, sketch next the entire garment, 
choosing a pretty present-day skirt slightly altering or adapting it from 
your historical plates. 

3« After you have drawn this figure roughly in black and white, consider 





your trimming. Notice the current general trend of garniture. Handwork 
of any kind is always sure to give a touch of personality. If embroidery 
is fashionable, get your inspiration from the historical ornaments of 
some foreign country in the limelight for the moment. Try, however, to 
place the motif or design where you. have never seen it before. Tucks 
of all sorts and sizes are also decorative. Pin tucks in clusters may 
prove to be an original touch if arranged in a design of some kind (see 
illustration) • Needless to say, the foundation material of the dress 
will determine largely your trimmingo 

km Material : Textile will not show up much upon a rough sketch, but its 
influence upon the finished product is so great that the correct choice 
of material is a must in the strict sense of the word. For this reason, 
place different samples on your several sketches and devote tijne enough 
in considering them to judge well which is the best for the frock in 
question, always bearing in mind that your garment must be not only 
original in appearance, but beautiful in effect. To make sure of this, 
take your one or two preferred samples and on your sketches imitate 
them closely by means of water colors. 

This brings us to the next consideration. Col or : If possible, it 
should be chosen from one of the new shades launched under appropriate 
names each season by clothes designers. Remembering that contrasts are 
most effective, and having decided on the basic color of the gown, 
choose harmonious tones from the color schemes in vogue for the trimmings. 
Although those color combinations nearly always come from Paris, beauti- 
ful ones are also created by our New York designers. Keep in mind that 


in general complementary and contrasted harmonies are nearly always used 
in Spring and Summer; analogous and dominant schemes in the Fall and 
Winter, For evening wear, non-color and metal combinations are appro- 
priate at all times. 

General pointers for the student aspiring to design original 

1 Visit the most expensive shops at least once a week, you may thus 
observe enough to find inspiration for your next creations, 
?, Attend fashion shows, carry your pencil and sketch pad and write 
the colors as illustrations show, 

3, Learn to memorize colors, but practice and experimenting will do a 
great deal, 

U, Remember that color arrangements for mass production differ from 
those for individuals, consequently in Paris, designers work for 
individuals, whereas in New York they aim at mass production,. 



NOTE t o Designers for Mass Production ; 

Remember that no one, no matter how good a designer he or she 
may be, dares to launch an entirely different silhouette from the one 
or ones (sometimes there are two contrasting silhouettes, a narrow and 
a wide, as we had in the Spring of 19^3) that have been dictated for the 
season by Paris or New York, The concern of the big commercial or elite 
shop designer is to try to make attractive minor changes with new and 
different materials and colors, using their ingenuity to effect seemingly 
"new wrinkles," 

In mass production an important matter to consider is Cost, 
However reckless the home dressmaker may be with her scissors and cloth, 
in mass production no material may be wasted, "When designing a model 
which is to be copied in thousands, perhaps, designers must be careful 
of this item if they wish the manufacturer to accept their models. That 
which among small dressmakers is called "waste bits" cannot be tolerated 
in a factory. The manufacturer will expect these small parings to be as 
few as possible and those which are, to be utilized either in the making 
of buttons or for binding, etc, for other models This is true espec- 
ially in the case, for instance, of two dresses being designed at the 
same time out of different materials, the "waste bits" of one gown being 
used as a trnjimiing on the other. Such wise economy on the part of the 
designer is of great importance to the producer. 



■ i 

I i 


BF 2507 EMB . WL 
To hold sheet size 11 x 8»/ 2 . 
Also available in special sizes up 
to 35%" x 39 Vi" sheet size. Specify 
binding side first when ordering. 

Manufactured By ' ., 
Acco Products, Inc., Ogdcnsburg, N. Y., U. S. A.